Saturday, 29 May 2010

Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Before I begin, can I just say...I can't stop listening to this album! To the point where, from once being enjoyable, it has now become some kind of compulsion. So I'll issue this as a public health warning, some of these tracks are as catchy as...I don't know, some kind of itchy S.T.I. Just be careful, ok?!

So, warning over, I briefly mentioned these guys way back, after I saw them supporting for Bat For Lashes at The Roundhouse. Comprised of three main members, Chris Keating, Anand Wilder and Ira Wolf Tuton - the latter I believe must have the coolest name in the music business. Despite the artists' sounds being so different, they definitely got the crowd hyped up before Natasha Khan's appearance, and it was only fair that they tag along on the tour seeing as the Yeasayer boys part-produced Khan's album 'Two Suns'. Clearly they have many talents. I thought they rocked back then, and their album hasn't disappointed. Well, I say 'rock', instead they kind of 'roll-up-their-blazer-sleeves-and-point-in-time-with-the-music', but rock is a bit quicker to say.

The guys describe their sound as "Middle Eastern psych-snap-gospel", I don't really know what that means, and I'm guessing it's probably just something they made up, because really there is no definitive answer - they are experimental, and as such cannot stick to any one kind of 'sound'. This much is clear from comparing their two albums, 2007's 'All Hour Cymbals' is worlds away from this year's 'Odd Blood'. The songs that instantly caught my, er, ears, were those from 2 to 5, particularly 'Ambling Alp' and 'O.N.E', because they are just awesome dance-filled slices of 80s cake, with a little layer of modern synth and craziness that bring them up to date. There is also a sense of tenderness in 'I Remember', which laments lost love, in a psychadelic kind of way. For those who may have liked the first album, the popularity of this latest offering may be a turn off for fear that the band has sold out and gone mainstream , well, maybe they have a little. There is a lot on the latest album that will definitely be more accessible to more people, but there is no way they have lost their experimental edge - there is a lot of weirdness too! Just a quick listen to opening track 'Children' illustrates that, with a strange robotic voice throughout that sounds a little bit like a remix version of the guy in 'Saw'. No danger of that one ending up being played on Heartfm!

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