CLAPCLAPCLAP!, the 15-second opener to IV of Spades’ album of the same name, has already spawned a string of covers on Twitter. This one recreates the sparse curtain-raiser by flicking a light switch on and off. This one supplements the song with interpretative dance. Here’s one with a dog in sunglasses. And then there’s the obligatory ukulele rendition.
“CLAPCLAPCLAP!” feels like an assertion of stability, the formalization of a fast, turbulent rise.
This is IV of Spades’ first record, which is impressive considering the engagement of their fully-mobilized following. It’s also strange, given that the group’s come-up has already played out in the public eye like a condensed saga. In the past two years, they’ve gone viral with a series of lush, polished music videos, established themselves as big-draw headliners in the gig circuit, shocked the internet by parting ways with their lead singer, and watched from the sidelines as that singer embarked on a successful solo career. They’ve emerged from it all more or less intact, with bassist Zild now de facto frontman. “CLAPCLAPCLAP!,” more than anything, feels like an assertion of stability, the formalization of a fast, turbulent rise.
The manifesto starts off strongly enough. Sweet Shadow is a jubilant breeze of arena-rock. Bata, Dahan Dahan! is an ode to childhood lost, and perhaps one of the most fully-realized songs on the album. Blaster, Badjao, and Zild still sport platform heels and technicolor prints, but on CLAPCLAPCLAP!, they trade in the disco-inflected shimmer of Hey Barbara for a sound that vaguely recalls late-2000s pop rock. There are shades of Panic! At The Disco here, whom they opened for last October. Come Inside Of My Heart, one of the likelier songs to outlive the album cycle, sounds like a lost bonus track from Maroon 5’s “Hands All Over” era.