New Music Tuesday ( February 9th, 2010)

10 Feb

Yeasayer

Odd Blood

Secretly Canadian

9.5/10

Referring to Yeasayer’s follow-up to 2007’s All Hour Cymbals as “highly anticipated” would be a great disservice, as fans, blogs, publications and anyone well-versed in independent music have been awaiting Odd Blood with baited breath for months and months.

Since emerging from Brooklyn two years ago with their unique brand of experimental-meets-electronic-meets-abstract, the trio gained praise and notoriety for their distinct presence, garnering a cult following and appearing at countless music fests including Bonnaroo, Leeds/Reading and Pitchfork .  Needless to say, expectations for their latest record have been high.

However, if the release of “Ambling Alp” – the dance floor-filling first single that debuted in October – was any sort of inclination, Yeasayer seems determined not only to reject the sophomore slump, but to embrace the momentum of their successes by challenging any pre-conceived notions listeners and critics may have had.  Cue:  Odd Blood – a self-proclaimed departure from their initial album that will undoubtedly solidify Yeasayer as a band that will help shape the 2010s.

While on first listen, the record seems highly accessible, catchy and a play on the electro-phenomenon that has come to define indie rock, the album’s obvious multi-dimensional qualities solidify it as a tapestry of art, with its lyrics, melodies and general premise working to uphold the vision Yeasayer had in mind.

Opening with “The Children”, a bold and experimental track that utilizes the band’s gravitation toward the electronic, one can’t help but wonder how the album could possibly transition from the mechanistic to the upbeat “Ambling Alp”.  However, like a capable storyteller, the trio slowly ease listeners into their world of new wave-yet-decidedly different brand of song, and immediately propel its audiences into a world normally reserved for Yeasayer.

Continuing with “Madder Red”, a track sure to become a live show anthem, vocalist Chris Keating offers a glimpse of vulnerability as he addresses the insecurities of relationships, life and all that they encompass.  “O.N.E.” – another effort sure to become a show and club favourite – and “Love Me Girl” keep things moving, eventually arriving at “Mondegreen”, a clap-happy synth-driven track that will undoubtedly get even the most pretentious listeners out of their folded arm/casual lean comfort zone.

While the album’s focus is clearly on quality over quantity (it comes in at just ten songs), one can’t help but be left pining as “Grizelda” rings in Odd Blood’s curtain call, leaving listeners craving more from the trio that could, did and will continue to do so.  Unabashed, unafraid and bridging the gap between experimental and accessible, Yeasayer’s latest has likely already cemented spots on countless “best of” lists for year’s end.

Posted by : Anne T Donahue

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