Yeasayer are often called ‘experimental’ – which is going a bit far. It’s not as if their latest album is a slop-bucket full of industrial-level screams and the heartbeats of dying birds. The band is better served by the phrase ‘big pop’: big, chunky, pop that’s a little too heavy to be swept along by the mainstream. New York’s Yeasayer are alternative, one supposes.
That’s not to say they don’t adhere (most of the time) to the verse-chorus-verse structure. And they love melodies. Boy, do they love melodies!
They’re very partial to vocal harmonies, too. Odd Blood – the band’s second long-playing outing – is awash with both: beautiful things that provoke recollections like the “fresh cut grass in May” and “making out on an airplane” of I Remember. It’s the musical equivalent of sun-flare in a camera lens.
Electronic tweets and swirls
Not all the album’s tracks are wholly successful, but the majority hit a tender spot of good feeling, with the electronic tweets and swirls, frantic handclaps, squishy beats and lyrics about drinking metal that earn the band its unwarranted ‘experimental’ tag. Well, not entirely unwarranted; the opener, The Children, is straight-weird and you may want to skip it unless you like your patrons to feel discombobulated.
You could let rip with the rest of Odd Blood’s 40, short minutes and expect the question “what the hell is this” to be posed with pleasant curiosity rather than frustrated aggression.
The highlight is O.N.E. It sounds like the ‘80s if the decade had been a more carefree time for music and people. It’s a tune that’s likely to get customers who are a little worse for wear claiming they haven’t heard this for years. Actually, the whole album feels like it’s from about 25 years ago – albeit wearing jeans baggier than were common at that time.