The first time I saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was in a picture in the NME. I was vaguely aware that Louis Theroux and a man who's hair was eating him were there, but my eyes were inevitably drawn towards Karen O. Based on the fact that I was quite frightened of her, I assumed that was the last I would pay attention to them. Then I heard the first single from Fever To Tell; Date With The Night. Sounding not unlike the singer being beaten to death with drums and a guitar, I was still quite scared, but intruiged as well.
Since then, this album has turned up on my shelf without me having any recollection of buying it. However it got here, I'm pleased it did. Over the past year or two there have been multifarious acts whose debuts have been ridiculously over-hyped, but this is one of only two that really justifies it (The Vines' Highly Evolved is the other).
It's quite impossible to tire of Fever To Tell. The songs don't last long enough to outstay their welcome, half of them don't even hang around long enough to be offered a cup of tea. For the most part, the songs are whirlwinds of guitar noise, pounding rythyms and a lot of yelping. But like, say, Oasis, the vocal delivery is compelling enough to make you not care whether the words are any good or not: hence, two of the best moments here are "Bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom, Duh-nuh, duh-nuh duh-nuh duh-nuh " and "Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, AAH!"
The best two songs here, though, come after the excitement has died down. Modern Romance sounds rather like the Velvets at Christmas, whilst Maps, when it is released as a single in a few weeks, will be the single of the year (taking Seven Nation Army into account too). Entirely at odds with Date With The Night, it's a gorgeously romantic song with some wonderful yearning guitar noises complementing the chorus of "Wait... they don't love you like I love you".
It's fantastic. All the album is. Karen O doesn't seem QUITE so scary any more.