Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Mosquito

Written by: TL on 23/05/2013 21:01:56

As usual, let's start with honesty. Yeah Yeah Yeahs have quickly become an establishment - an institution almost - in the world of indie rock, and as such they deserve to be reviewed by somebody with close knowledge of their career. Unfortunately, no such somebodies are available at Rockfreaks.net. All we have is me, a guy who's liked a couple of the hits and had it as an elusive point on his agenda to get into the band and figure out if there is more to them than the charisma of female frontwoman extraordinaire, Karen O.

The New York trio's new, fourth LP "Mosquito" comes packaged with some of the most intentionally hideous artwork I've seen in a while, and casts the group as one occupied partly with playful, minimalistic ambiance that reminds me of Beach House, yet has room to occasionally cross over into a noisier, garage-rocking romp alá The Kills or The Raveonettes - The former coming to mind especially quickly due to the similarity in attitude and delivery between singer VV and Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O.

Songwise, we start out well with the instantly immersive "Sacrilege" which quickly flashes O's badassness in an anthem that grows and grows to the point where it's carried off by an elated gospel choir. "Subway" then flips to the album's mellower side with a noodling, clean guitar melody and with a rhythm that constantly reminds of the song's title via a beat that either is a sample of trains on tracks, or at least sounds a lot like it. Further into the album "These Paths" mark another high, with its atmospheric electronica sounding like an underplayed counterpart to the band's "Heads Will Roll" hit, and with O lending the song some great dynamics jumping back and forth between her low and high registry.

As drenched in coolness as these songs are though - and Yeah Yeah Yeahs are, if anything, a band that sounds preposterously cool - all the coolness in the world couldn't save a dose of lyricism like that in the title track "Mosquito". Even Karen O fail here, at distracting me from the silly pointlessness of the cries of "suck your blood! suck your blood! suck your! suck your! blood!" here, and combined with the "I wanna be an alien!" of "Area 52", content like this makes me severely question if the band has anything to say at this point, or if they've just made the album for the hell of it. I guess you could tell me to lighten up and not take things so seriously, but it seems to me that in these songs, O might as well not sing words at all.

Overall, "Mosquito" is an album that I can describe with various upsides and a strong downside, yet despite this dynamic, it hasn't ever become an album I feel animated to feel particularly strongly about. It's eclectic, it has cool-as-fuck production and hell, the songs are mostly fairly recognisable after just a few quick spins. But even the best of them are just that. Recognisable. Hardly memorable. Hardly evocative. I'm sure some people will say that "Mosquito" is an album that should be appreciated simply for the playfulness of its soundscape, but for me, without the urgency, I'm sorry but that'll not get me where I want to go.

Download: Sacrilege, Subway, These Paths
For The Fans Of: The Kills, Raveonettes, Band Of Skulls, Beach House
Listen: facebook.com/yeahyeahyeahs

Release Date 15.04.2013
Interscope

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