Illustration from the Crane Sketchbook of Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning Ideas, c. 1950
The Spongetones' debut LP, 1982's Beat Music, is as faithful a recreation of the British Invasion sound as has been made since 1968 - however, by virtue of showing up fifteen years too late, it was deemed "just another power-pop record" and was told to go sit in the back of the bus with the Flaming Groovies. Now, I tend to think of power-pop as a genre with a deep understanding of the craft of pop music (although sometimes this works to the genre's detriment, sacrificing distinctiveness in the process). As a result, I associate handclaps with power-pop. It's funny, though - I have trouble naming a lot of power-pop songs with prominent claps. Maybe it's not as much of a thing as I thought it was.
In listening so some of my favorite power-pop songs, though, I notice one use of handclaps that pops up a lot in late-70s/early-80s tracks - doubling the drumbeat with claps on the final chorus. The Spongetones did this on Beat Music's "Every Night Is a Holiday", a classic track that is overshadowed on the album because it follows the band's best song ever, "She Goes Out With Everybody". The song's last chorus starts without any guitar, just drums, claps, and harmonies, and it works just right. I love songs that can pull off this kind of moment.
"Every Night Is a Holiday" by the Spongetones