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Last year, you needed a notebook to keep track of all the superlatives critics and bloggers threw at the rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. They released their first album on their own label, and thousands flocked to listen online. Pretty soon, major labels were knocking, but the band decided to remain independent. This week, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah will release its second CD. It's called "Some Loud Thunder."

Here's our critic Tom Moon with a review.

TOM MOON: The second CD from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah begins with an odd sonic provocation.

(Soundbite of song, "Some Loud Thunder")

Mr. ALEC OUNSWORTH (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah): (Singing) (unintelligible)

MOON: Do not adjust your equipment. That distortion is intentional. Singer and songwriter Alec Ounsworth says he and the band tried many approaches to this song, which is the title track from the new CD "Some Loud Thunder." This turned out to be the only way it resonated for them.

(Soundbite of song, "Some Loud Thunder")

Mr. OUNSWORTH: (Singing) (unintelligible)

MOON: We know that sound. It's the thinking too much about the second record blues. And just when it feels like Clap Your Hand Say Yeah is deliberately sabotaging its reputation, along comes this gem.

(Soundbite of song, "Emily Jean Stock")

Mr. OUNSWORTH: (Singing) (Unintelligible)

MOON: That's pretty much the pattern throughout this maddening and often brilliant record. The band starts out by pushing listeners away and as the record unfolds gradually let them come closer. Sometimes the music is totally cloudy. And sometimes Alec Ounsworth sings a streak of disconnected images, like he's leaving breadcrumbs on a path.

(Soundbite of song, "Safe and Sound")

Mr. OUNSWORTH: (Singing) (Unintelligible)

MOON: But the last few songs, Ounsworth changes his tactics as a lyricist. On a song called "Yankee Go Home," he sketches a more precise picture of an ugly American on holiday.

(Soundbite of song, "Yankee Go Home")

Mr. OUNSWORTH: (Singing) Sights and make the things that take it. Honolulu, how do you do? I'm making quick stop (unintelligible).

MOON: No doubt about it, the new record from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is pletty challenging. But there's more going on than random distortion and oscillating goop. Spend enough time with it, and you begin to hear gorgeous melodies rising from the din. And then you realize this record isn't going to spill all its secrets the first time out. But there are secrets waiting in there.

BLOCK: The new CD from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is called "Some Loud Thunder." Our reviewer is Tom Moon.

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