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.
This was a great album with a really strong mix of tracks from the YYY's and a very polished production from start to finish. Almost as good as their debut in some respects and as close as they've come to date to replicating its greatness, much better than the second or fourth album.
I just repurchased after going to play it again recently and realising I'd pretty much worn it out beyond use having played it so often over the years..
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.
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.
on 16 October 2015
3 star reviewers=paralysis by analysis!
It costs peanuts it's 'kin gorgeous and is well sound-engineered. So if it's too loud all over with no quiet bits???your system must be cattle-trucked mate!
Excellent musicianship and vocals, great lyrics. Not a duff track on here, IMHO
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!
on 31 March 2009
Like most people buying this cd, I have played "Fever to Tell" and "Show Your Bones" - both of which are brilliant - to death and was eagerly anticipating the new release from YYYs.
So, was it worth the wait worth?
Yes, and undoubtedly so!
"It's Blitz" is a complete change from YYYs previous outings. The album is a much more mellow and consistent affair. Gone are the raucous vocals. Instead, the listener is treated to a range of songs exploiting Karen O's more 'mature' and 'gentle' turn of voice: from discoesque numbers like Zero, Dull Life and Heads Will Roll to slower ballads like Soft Shock, Hysteric, Little Shadow and Skeletons.
For me, Soft Shock and Hysteric have to be the stand out tracks on the album. They both radiate pure and genuine heart-felt emotion. And that is the general feel of the album. I imagine some fans will not be too pleased with the total departure from YYYs "Date With the Night" Guitar-heavy style, but I give this album a big thumbs up! It will be interesting to see where YYYs go from here...
However, if I was to have a criticism, it would be that the three tracks in the middle of the album (Shame and Fortune, Runaway and Dragon Queen) are a little forgettable - though by no means bad.
If you get the chance to purchase a download copy of the album (which is what I did, but not from Amazon, hence the early review!) it is well worth it. There is the option of getting some bonus tracks - acoustic versions of Soft Shock, Skeletons, Hysteric, Little Shadow and also a track called Faces.
on 23 January 2013
Rarely do you pick up an album and then find that more than 2/3 tracks become your favourites. There are a good half dozen absolute belters on this one! From the danceable 'Heads will roll' to the totally laid-back and frosty 'Skeletons'. You can play this album all the way through and there will be some offering that will appeal to somebody. Even if you don't think it's your style or taste, give it a listen.
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.
on 15 August 2013
I like the yeah yeah yeahs and whilst this is still un mistakenly them (with Karren O's orgasmic voice) they have changed a lot from the pure punk of their first album. Not too many single quality songs but a thoroughly enjoyable album I'll keep returning to.