7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2009
The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs debut album was an exciting, raw slab of New York punk rock. They struggled to replicate that on their second album, Show Your Bones. It looked like a classic case of an exciting debut followed by a steady decline. To their credit the YYYs have gone back to the drawing board and come up with an album that is a genuine progression, yet still recognisably them. From the buzzy synth tone on opener Zero to the stately grandeur of Little Shadow which closes the album, this is a richly varied collection of songs. Karen O's vocals are more controlled than previously, but she remains an exciting, distinctive presence throughtout. I've read elsewhere that the songs are "ambient", but this is presumably the judgement of someone not in possession of a dictionary. This is a rock band using synths, guitar, bass and drums to do something interesting, challenging and different. 'Shame and Fortune' illustrates this perfectly and for me is probably the stand out track. I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoyed Fever To Tell and I look forward to seeing where they go from here.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2009
From the opening synth pulse it's clear that YYY are venturing into very different territory on "It's Blitz". Opening track "Zero" builds and builds into a huge slice of pulsating, overdriven synth-rock. A real statement of intent from the band, and the mood carries through to the next track "Heads Will Roll" with Karen O belting out It's Blitz's manifesto - "Off off off with your head, dance dance dance 'til you're dead."
After such a supercharged opening pair, the mood relaxes a little. Highlights include "Soft Shock", which throbs and shimmers, "Dull Life" which actually places Zinner's guitar to the fore and reminds me a little of Siouxsie & The Banshees, and the euphoric "Hysteric".
"It's Blitz" rewards repeated listens, to allow the rich variety of moods and song textures to break through what seems, initially, to be an almost overwhelming glossy electro-sheen, and also to get over the initial shock - where's the guitar?
Whether "It's Blitz" is regarded as a classic in the future, or just the creative peak of a synth pop/rock revival, I couldn't say - it may indeed date quite quickly, but for now this is a hugely enjoyable album - "dance, dance, dance 'til you're dead" - "It's Blitz" makes me want to do just that!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A confession: This is the first Yeah Yeah Yeah's album I've heard, so I'm unable to compare it to their previous work.
So, as a newcomer to the band, how is the album? Simply put, it's tremendous. I'm struggling to imagine anybody putting out a stronger album than this in 2009.
From the start it scarcely lets up. "Zero" is an excellent opening track, and is followed by the equally exciting "Heads Will Roll". The pace eases a little for "Soft Shock" and "Skeletons", but they roar back to life (and embrace the guitar) on the superb "Dull Life".
For me, the best track of all comes in the second half, and was the reason I bought the album. "Runaway" is absolutely mesmerising, starting quietly but building majestically into an enormous wall of noise. It's a stunning track.
Are there any weak moments? "Shame and Fortune" is a little atonal, but the rest is incredibly good. I'll be buying their other albums very, very soon, and if they're as good as - or better than - this then I'm in for a treat.
Best album of 2009? It could well be.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2009
I'm new to the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and understand this is a new direction for them. For that reason I'm sure some will see it as a bit of a sell-out, as this is about as accessible as rock/pop music comes.
Fantastic, well-produced songs come one after another and it's one of those rare albums you can put on and enjoy without ever reaching for the skip button.
My only slight disappointment is that it fails to end with a more rousing finish and a stand-out song that makes you hungry for more.
Apart from those two last songs, it's mainly fast paced and every song seems to carry the odd surprise and an extra hook to take it to the next level. Credit to the band for this, but the production on this album is also a real star and I guess that slick cleverness is something you either like or you don't. In this case I think it works brilliantly.
Zero is a quality start and just gets better and better with each listen, Head Will Roll is dance/rock at its best and the duo of Dull Life and Shame and Fortune are other stand out moments, with the former perhaps the real stand-out moment of the album, combining light and shade to perfection.
In comparison, Shame and Fortune is a guitar and drum-led juggernaut of a song, contrasting nicely with some of the more synth-heavy tracks.
Softer songs break up the pace, but are never boring.
Have to admit this album totally took me by surprise and the level of consistent quality throughout (it's hard to believe the stand-out moments keep on coming) is a rare thing indeed.
Hard to believe this won't take the band to mass popularity because it certainly deserves to.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2009
Let us be clear that It's Blitz is not Fever To Tell, nor Show Your Bones mark two, and even less a progression and extension when compared to Is Is. Is Is now appears to have been a cathartic expulsion of all that was left of Karen and co's desire to screech and torture instruments. It's Blitz loses the squeaks and squawks and welcomes sultry electro to the party. Those wishing for Fever To Tell 2 may well be disappointed.
Evolution is natural by definition, and so is a desire to be commercially successful. Few manage it with any credibility, but Yeah Yeah Yeahs, along with Kings Of Leon, appear to be doing quite a good job of it. It's Blitz is hugely accessible and radio friendly. As such, it lacks the cutting-edge excitement that Fever To Tell may have offered, but compensates by maintaining their danceable, art-punk-influenced sound. Whilst most Yeah Yeah Yeahs releases have been catchy, none have been more glamorous.
The opening trinity of tracks inject a disco feel into the equation recalling Gary Numan and Blondie in its crossover. To a beat, these three are indie dancefloor filler and killer in one. `Skeletons' however is more in line with `Maps', a quieter ode, perhaps a lament to the underrated `Show Your Bones'.
Sadly, the middle section of the album becomes shrug-worthy. The tempo is reduced and the result is disposable. These tracks are not at all revolutionary and more in line with Show Your Bones' weaker pop-rockers. `Hysteric' and `Little Shadow' take it down a gear or two again at the album's close and once again prove the band are capable of genuinely moving, shuffling pop-rock. These tracks are the natural end to the Blitz party, a pleasant but slightly bittersweet, walk home on a cool evening.
It's Blitz is not complex. It also has no pretence about its ambition, no apologies, and it is wholly enjoyable because of that. It continues an impressive run and certainly adds a further string to their burgeoning bow. It's Blitz, certainly at its onset, is full of disco-punk-pop-rock hits, a formula which allows its tale end to showcase their slower, romantic waltzes. If that is the new focus, Yeah Yeah Yeahs doing New Romanticism may be the next natural step of evolution. You heard it here first. Shuddering optional.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One thing that really keeps me hooked to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is the extent to which they mature with every album; from the rawness of their first EP, the punky, feverish Fever To Tell, the more polished Show your Bones & now the much more sophisticated sound of It's Blitz. If someone had told me in advance they had added synths to their arsenal, I would have assumed it wouldn't work, that they'd go against the rawness of Karen O's distinctive powerful-yet-vulnerable voice - but it actually fits in quite naturally, adding a new level of sophistication to their music.
I'ts Blitz is another great album by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which like their others, has its own distinct vibe & sees them avoiding falling into a rut, which says a lot about their talent. I felt that after the sheer power of the first 3 tracks, the next few seemed overwhelmed & less distinctive on the first few listens but having a couple of slow burners has given It's Blitz lots of replay value for me. Highly recommended.
YYY are an amazing band. I first got into them by watching Jools Holland probably six or seven years ago, and have bought everything available since. Their evolution from arthouse/garage threesome, think "Art Star" and "Date With The Night" - to outright beauty - think "Maps" from Fever To Tell, and "Warrior" from "Show Your Bones" to "It`s Blitz" and the astonishing range of songs contained here has been incredible, and you sense that they can achieve and master any style they wish.
I wasn`t sure what would follow Show Your Bones. I didn`t think that was brilliant at first! And to be honest, I just wasn`t sure at all when I bought this last year. I thought it sounded too much like Blondie (who I love but I feared the edge of the YYYs was missing). But given the right amount of listening, I see that I was wrong, and I think most people would admit that this is an amazing album, that might even edge past their two other long-players. It`s pretty hard to think of a better opener on any album than "Zero", and the phenomenal quality doesn`t drop...the styles might change but the level of brilliance doesn`t. The closing songs are almost too good to be true - "Hysteric" and "Little Shadow" - and I can`t recommend this album highly enough now I have actually listened to it properly!
I`m not sure who is the force behind the power of the YYYs; probably Karen O, but it`s all to easy to underplay the role of the two guys. The music is just as innovative as the lyrics, but it all seems to work so well together they are more of a true band than just three people who make a band. Truly stunning music.
on 21 March 2010
I was expecting an aweful lot from this album having played Show Your Bones to death and I deliberately waited until after seeing them live before buying (I'm just perverse, I guess). Zero disappointment. Karen still evokes more with a ooh or a hey than anybody has a right to expect. That flutter in her voice at the end of certain vocal phrases turns me to mush. Cannot tell the synths from the guitars or vice versa, but then you never could. Huge, huge tunes mixed up with elliptical heartfelt lyrics. At volume this album is absolutely overwhelming.
Brian plays slippery beats, inbetween beats, monster beats. I need a gyroscope to stay upright. I can attest from seeing the band live that Brian looks like the happiest man on the planet earth when he is in the zone. This is fantastic music played and crafted by musicians who can respond to every nuance of each others input. Dull Life is a pivotal track for me, the dynamics of the arrangement are stunning, this track nails the fact that they have evolved to another level with It's Blitz.
Do you remember how it feels to be drawn into a mystery? To hear a phrase or a melody that can suddenly transform your sense of what your life is and who the freck you are? Well every time I play this album I hear something new and all of it (including the acoustic versions) makes me very very happy.
on 28 January 2011
This is probably an album that should not have worked, as usually any band that decide to get rid of an instrument that they are known for and replace it with one that they have not included on there previous two albums and eps, would usually mean career suicide or ridicule for trying something different. (Chris Cornell's dreadful new album 'scream' springs to mind straight away)
However its quite the opposite as 'It's Blitz' shows a new side to the yeah yeah yeahs and quietens the people who called them a one dimensional guitar band, or the people who thought they were going to go and make a soft album and continue in the vain of the second half of second album 'Show your Bones'.
Its evident from the first song 'zero' that 'It's Blitz' is going to be different, as before guitarist Nick Zinner would make his guitar squeal with effects he now has it replaced with a synthesizer. Its put to great use on nearly all ten tracks, with the standouts been zero, heads will roll, soft shock, dull life, shame and fortune and hysteric. Lead singer Karen O is a brilliant as ever even if trademark screeching is kept firmly in the background.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2009
I'll start by admitting that i'm not a huge fan of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In fact I don't have any of their previous albums but after listening to this I think I can honestly say that I will be investigating their other albums. They appeared on Later...with Jools Holland to promote this album and played the lead single Zero. I thought it was an amazing performance and the song really grabbed me. I listened to it several times online before deciding to purchase the album. I'm glad I did, as it is an excellent record. Zero opens the album and is a really great song. Heads Will Roll is equally impressive and really draws you in. Then the album, for the most part, slows down a bit. The shift in pace may disappoint some listeners, but the songs are still enjoyable and well produced throughout.
The album reminds me of Doves - Some Cities in the respect that two of the obvious standouts are the first two songs. I remember loving both Some Cities and Black and White Town instantly and then being a little unimpressed by the rest of the songs. But with repeated listening, the album really came together. I think this album has that same quality, put in the time and you'll be rewarded. That's for people who aren't immediately blown away by it. For the rest of us, the album is an instant pleasure from beginning to end. If you like Interpol or The Killers then I would definitely recommend this. My favourite tracks are Zero, Heads Will Roll, Dull Life, Runaway and Dragon Queen but there are no weak songs here. This is likely to be one of the albums of the year and with good reason.