Yeasayer, I say yea!,
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This review is from: Odd Blood (Audio CD)
When I first went nuts over Simian Mobile Disco's Audacity Of Huge (featuring Yeasayer's Chris Keating on vocals), I had never heard Yeasayer. Needless to say, I went similarly nuts over Yeasayer's sophomore oeuvre, Odd Blood, once I discovered it. And I must say, it has since then etched itself onto my personal list of favourite records.
Yeasayer perfectly achieves that which I admire most about the music industry, namely skirting that fine line between obscurely and independently alternative and charmingly accessible mainstream, for lack of a better word. Yes, Yeasayer is at times a bit on the weird side, and their eclectic style may not appeal to everyone, but Keating's vocals in particular and the songwriting behind it reveal an otherwise pure pop nature at the same level as any other uber-popular hit artist, and I suspect that combination has helped generate much of the attraction surrounding the band.
Speaking of weird, take the opening track 'The Children,' with its decrepit robot singing and bubbly, sleepy beat. I guess Yeasayer is an indie band, to return to boring definitions - maybe synthpop. But it's their affinity for experimentation that makes them stand out in a world full of radio pumping homogeneous hits. 'Ampling Alp' is one such stand-out track, a hit that sports a background story, making the fine lyrics very interesting. 'Madder Red' is dream pop, or rather what dream pop should sound like, because dream pop is boring in comparison. It's groovy electropop with an epic refrain! 'I Remember' sounds like something Colplay could turn out if they eschewed their own hype and started thinking so far outside the box that the distance would make them dizzy; a sentimental ballad with wispy synthesizers and Keating's voice at its finest. 'Love Me Girl' and 'Rome' keep up the groovy pace with slightly less memorable yet equally cool tunes. 'Strange Reunions' is Beatles and Primal Scream, and 'Mondegreen' is Moroderesque with a sidetrack of pulsating saxophones. After the concluding 'Grizelda', forty minutes feels awfully short, and I realize I have been smiling constantly.
But it's the mock-calypsofunk 'O.N.E.' that burns me up every time I hear it, with its catchy refrain and cozy '80's sound. Nicely snuggled in the middle of the album, it sits there as the absolute peak of Odd Blood's forty minutes, the tracks leading up to it acting as exciting build-ups, and the tracks leading down from it presenting a perfect teetering off this modern retro-music mountain ride. The album is self-produced, and it shows in
the quality and variety of the songs and the production. Check out the cover, it's psychedelic. Listen to the music, it's psychedelic. Now tell me, is psychedelica great or not?