There’s a point during CYHSY’s flawless show at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts when frontman Alec Ounsworth leaves the stage and wonders through the audience, singing an almost unrecognisable electronic version of Some Loud Thunder.
It might not seem all that significant, but you can’t imagine him having done that during the band’s peak when their self-titled 2005 debut album was the hottest record around.
Like a million bands before them, CYHSY are not the ticket-selling force they once were. But Ounsworth and his ever-changing lineup have lost none of their sparkle. New album The Tourist is easily their best since 2007’s excellent Some Loud Thunder, and a number of tracks from the latest effort get an airing tonight.
The Pilot is classic CYHSY and features one of my favourite ever Ounsworth lyrics – something about a “tough luck motherfucker.” But the standout on the record is the wonderful Fireproof. It sounds – unintentionally, I’m certain – like something The Stone Roses might have produced around the same time as One Love and Something’s Burning.
And live, it comes across perfectly with it’s baggy bass-line, ominous drums and lyrics dripping in attitude. It’s the most impressive moment of a near perfect gig.
Down (Is Where I Wanna Be) is another standout track from The Tourist and fits neatly alongside debut album classics Is This Love?, Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood, Over And Over Again, Heavy Metal and The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth.
It’s great, too, to hear Same Mistake from fine third album Hysterical, but the show definitely missed the evil electro vibe of Satan Said Dance, which didn’t make the setlist.
This being the fourth time I’d seen CYHSY (three times in Glasgow and once in Toronto), they were as engaging as ever. And if Ounsworth keeps churning out records as vital as The Tourist, I look forward to the fifth.