The second offering from Yeasayer doesn't officially hit stores until February 9th, though the majority of tracks have been doing the rounds for well over a month at this stage!
These guys first grabbed my attention with a mesmerising performance on Jools Holland shortly after the release of their first record "All Hour Cymbals". I was so impressed by the renditions of '2080' and 'Sunrise' that first thing the next morning I hit my nearest HMV (and thus Plugd Records as HMV didn't have it in stock!) to get my hands on it. The album fused experimental sounds with neo-psychedelica. Unfortunately it was quite inconsistent and, while some songs are still played regularly, I genuinely don't know the last time I played the album as a whole!
However with the release of the "Dark Was The Night" compilation last year, Yeasayer caught my eye yet again. Their addition 'Tightrope' is one of the highlights of a spectacular collection. It showed real growth from the band and reignited my interest.
Last October the band released 'Ambling Alp', the first track from their new record. The entire album leaked in December and was greeted with very positive reviews from the majority of bloggers. The band were understandibly disappointed with the leak, claiming that "presents are spoiled to those who open them before they are supposed to."
I'm going to echo these positive reviews. In an earlier blog (on my wordpress account, now deleted!) I claimed that Yeasayer were in a position to "do an Animal Collective" by capturing the imaginations of the entire blogosphere with this release. While it may fall short of this enormous heights, that is nothing to be ashamed of. Yeasayer have accomplished something incredible with "Odd Blood" - it is a fantastic step forward that began with 'Tightrope' and could continue to grow if they play their cards right.
The album opens with 'The Children', an ambitous track that owes a little to 'Amnesiac'-era Radiohead I think, before evolving into the now very familiar 'Amblin Alp'. From these lofty beginnings the album continues to grow with 'Madder Red' and 'O.N.E.' - the two most played songs on my iPod since I bought it shortly after Christmas. They show real depth here, the two songs seemingly chronicling the ending of a relationship ("It's getting hard to keep pretending I'm worth your time" Keating cries on the former, while on the latter he repeats that "You don't move me anymore! And I'm glad that you don't, 'cos I cant have you anymore"). In the midst of these two is the fantastic 'I Remember'. "You're stuck in my mind, all the time!" wails Keating in a stunning falsetto. I seem to be picking up on a theme here. The albums high point is followed immediately by its low point 'Love Me Girl'. The sentiment is clear, but the track is weak. However the album regains its momentum with 'Rome'... A great track. It is a rather saucy song, makes you want to move! Finally we reach the last three tracks 'Strange Reunions', 'Mondegreen' and 'Grizelda'. This is rather more familiar territory from Yeasayer! Funky, psychedelic electronica.
I may be getting ahead of myself here when I claim that this record is destined to be in my top 10 from this year (Especially when I see the list of possible releases! If I'm wrong its only the result of a truly vintage year for alternative music!) Yeasayer have evolved so much in their last two showings (Yes I'm including 'Tightrope' as a showing!), evidently more versatile than anyone foresaw. The emotional depth of this album is really impressive - Keating plays the victim from start to finish. On more than one occasion the band sound as though they have just discovered sex and dancing, and the excitement of this has run through the record and is there for all to see!
Psychedelic, experimental, funky, original, versatile... "Odd Blood" immediately hooks you in and keeps you gripped. A number of tracks stand out - the first single aside, 'Madder Red', 'O.N.E.' and 'Rome' are must haves! Ultimately the record screams with sex and style. The best release of the year so far!
Yeasayer; "Odd Blood": 9.0/10.
Yeasayer play The Academy in Dublin on February 19th. Rumour has it they are really in their element in a live arena... Might be worth checking out. Especially if this record is anything to go by!!!
- Cork, Ireland
- An Irish based alternative music blog. Music news, gigs, live reviews, album reviews... You'll find them here. If you want anything featured or removed, please shout. I hope you'll discover something new to love on this little experiment of mine. Currently editing the Music Section of the UCC Express and contributing to Motley magazine on campus, as well as writing for PopCultureMonster and 4FortyFour. Always looking for new projects so please get in touch if interested. Thanks for reading.