Yeah Yeah Yeahs
As things evolve they hold signs of from whence they came. On their third full album, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs show that even while making a 1980's influenced/more danceable/electronic-synthezier heavy record, that Karen O is still a star and that yes a trio can kick ass.
Let me just say that Karen O is an amazing performer made all the possible by the steady performances of drummer Brian Chase and guitarist Nick Zinner. If you haven't had the joy of seeing Karen O in some WTF clothes vamping it up on the stage, do yourself a favor and buy some tickets to a Yeah Yeah Yeahs show. Or you could watch their music videos (remember them?). Here is a good place to start.
The opening track "Zero" serves as the perfect introduction to the album. Right away you get the "Yeah. We brought synthesizers" message. As "dance-y" as the opener is it remains but a hint of the drunken haze gyration soundtracks to come. Playful guitar riffs roll while Karen O talks about wanting to get noticed and dressing in leather.
The album doesn't let up after that either.
Subsequent tracks alternate between dance floor anthems (ala "Heads Will Roll" and "Faces") and quieter and more introspective moments. Lyrically I think that Karen O steps it up a bit - though, let's face it she's such a performer she can sell almost any sound and make it sound like it belongs - and the strongest evidence of this for me is on the track "Soft Shock".
The 80's influence on the album is nowhere more apparent than on another standout track, "Dragon Queen", but the album is seeping with it - which is gravy and biscuits to me.
On the deluxe edition of the album you get some acoustic renditions of a few of the earlier tracks. For me, acoustic versions of songs are a coin-flip as to whether or not I'll enjoy them but here they hold up reasonably well. I still prefer the non-acoustic versions, but it is nice to see "Soft Shock" deconstructed.
Yes, it is a bit different than their previous releases and perhaps even a bit less "Rock" like (I remember reading that Karen O asked Nick Zinner to play less guitar to get the sound she was aiming for). But for people with fond memories of the 80's and like their music tinged with a bit of the synth and dance, this album will be a pleasant surprise.
4.364 out of 5
|1. Zero (04:25)||5|
|2. Heads Will Roll (03:42)||5|
|3. Soft Shock (03:53)||5|
|4. Skeletons (05:02)||4|
|5. Dull Life (04:08)||5|
|6. Shame and Fortune (03:31)||4|
|7. Runaway (05:13)||4|
|8. Dragon Queen (04:02)||5|
|9. Hysteric (03:52)||4|
|10. Little Shadow (03:57)||3|
|11. Soft Shock (acoustic) (03:25)|
|12. Skeletons (acoustic) (03:30)|
|13. Hysterick (acoustic) (03:52)|
|14. Little Shadow (acoustic) (02:53)|
|15. Faces (03:33)||4|
|16. Clap Song (03:26)|