Album ReviewOdd Blood★★★½
In their Feb. 9 release Odd Blood, Brooklyn-based rockers Yeasayer avoid the sophomore slump, challenging the fact that many bands today don't have staying power within the dying music industry.
Odd Blood is definitely an upgrade. Yeasayer prove that they are not the stereotypical indie rock outfit fresh out of a hipster neighborhood in Brooklyn. Exploring a variety of genres - which include echoes of '80s beats and electronics as well as psychedelic '60s pop - the band strays from the over-processed, experimental rock that defined their debut album, 2007's All Hour Cymbals.
Odd Blood, however, is not easily ingested at first. Although the boys of Yeasayer find themselves delving further into the world of catchy pop music, this album is still odd to say the least, and will probably require listeners to hear it several times before they really catch on to it. Although the first track, "The Children," sounds like a continuation of their debut, the band proves otherwise with subsequent tracks.
Citing influences ranging from Talking Heads to Peter Gabriel, Yeasayer's diverse musical interests are reflected in the sheer range of songs that they display within the 10 tracks on Odd Blood. The single "Ambling Alp" begins as a track ridden with strange sound bites and beats, but evolves into an inspirational life lesson in which vocalist Chris Keating sings from the perspective of boxing hero Joe Louis, "Stick up for yourself son / Never mind what anybody else done."
A standout among several dance party-worthy tracks on the album, "O.N.E." says goodbye to a relationship ("No you don't move me anymore / And I'm glad that you don't," Keating sings), holding as the disc's turning point in terms of both track listing and content. Other notable tracks include the ballad "I Remember," and the percussion and synth-driven "Rome," in which Keating's mad vocals declare that, "Rome is gonna be mine / It's just a matter of time."
Though the last song "Grizelda" may be more slow-paced than the other tracks, it holds no less impact. A folky sort of lullaby, Keating's soothing voice accompanied by uncanny sounds and instrumentals appropriately closes Odd Blood.
Leading up to their latest release, there's been a great deal of excitement touting Yeasayer as an up-and-coming band that everyone just has to hear, especially by publications like Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan. Are they just another name on the list of hyped up "it" bands, or will they eventually have a place among successful indie-pop acts like MGMT and Vampire Weekend?
The change from All Hour Cymbals, as well as the versatility of the band on Odd Blood alone seems to attest that yes, the boys of Yeasayer can and will be around for quite a while.
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