on 15 April 2013
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs much like fellow New Yorkers The Strokes are no strangers to straying from their early garage rock roots by incorporating keyboards and drum machines into their already aggressive sound. Album number 4 "Mosquito" continues the trend by possibly being the bands most upbeat and poppiest album to date, all this despite the turmoil that the separate members had been going through including guitarist Nick Zinners separation and Karen O's Identity crisis!!
The album begins with the lead single "Sacrilege" which shows that Karen O can still delivering a spine-tingling shriek as good as anyone and that Nick Zinner still knows the right time to make his guitar scream, the song reaches a choir backed climax as well as featuring a risqué video starring supermodel Lilly Cole. The dreamy "Subway" cleverly features Karen O singing over the sound of a train on the tracks. The title track "Mosquito" starts off sounding like Deee-Lites "Grooves is In the Heart" and shows how far the band have come since their debut EP and album as it features a thumping funky bass throughout the song.
The band still knows how to do a three minute punk rock song with a twist in the form of "Area 52" which is yes it is influenced by Aliens! It features some great drumming by Brian chase and a shrieking guitar from Zinner. Interestingly the band include some rapping on the track "Buried Alive" from Kool Keith or Dr. Octagon as he is calling himself here it's a track full of background effects. The track "Despair" wouldn't have sounded out of place on their second album "Show Your Bones" as it bears a resemblance to the song "Cheated Hearts".
With the deluxe edition of the album there are four bonus tracks which are acoustic versions of "Wedding Song" and "Despair" a remix version of "Subway" and a live take of "Mosquito". For a band that are only a three piece they sure are able to sound a whole lot bigger as well as with each album they seem to evolve just that small bit more. It would have been easy for the Yeah Yeah yeahs to keep releasing albums like their brilliant debut "Fever To Tell" throughout their career and get away with it but no just like album number 3 "It's Blitz!" they continue to experiment with different styles with great success and "Mosquito" follows in that path.
on 16 April 2013
Four years on since 2009′s It's Blitz sees Yeah Yeah Yeah's a decade on from their from fan favourite début, Fever to Tell, return with album number four, Mosquito.
Leaving behind the electronic sound of their third album the band return back to the sound of Fever to Tell, to the delight of the fans. The album features Gospel Choirs, Subway trains, distorted vocals and unfortunately, a rapper.
The album begins with tasty lead single "Sacrilege" that features, yes, a gospel choir. On first listen, I was like "Wait, what?" put a couple of listens later a past the original bemusement, I've learned to love this song. I think that the gospel choir adds to the song, it gives it it's "soul". Karen O herself said that without the choir, the song wouldn't be as good as it is, and I agree. It's these little things that change a song from four boring chords into something ear grabbing and great.
Second track "Subway" is a beautiful quite song similar to those found on second album Show Your Bones. With the use of a subway car running along the tracks as the "beat" to the album, the band so their soft side for the first time on the album. To a point the song, with the subway repeating over and over and the slow tempo of the song, and the general calmness to Karen's voice that can be manic at any given moment, has a hypnotic quality to it, a soothing, "let's go to sleep now" feel to it that I really like.
"Mosquito" follows with a strong chorus Karen chanting, "I'll suck your blood" and buzzing in the usual ways she has. The quartet of strong songs that begin the album is completed with "Under the Earth" to finish probably one of the best opening streaks to an album I've seen. It has some reggae vibes on it which I'm cool with and the song works really well. We are seeing a more down to earth Yeah Yeah Yeah's. That doesn't mean quite though, because the album does have volume to it, it's just really good rock music that relaxes me.
"Slave" is an alright song, but as track five turns into track six, "These Paths" turns into "Area 51″, it all seems a little filler. They seem lacklustre in comparison to the first four tracks. Okay, so they have their good moments, "These Paths" has a charming intro and "Area 52″ has sirens blasting in the background warning us about aliens invading and the humorous sci-fi lyrics make for a fun song, but none of the tracks blow me away.
"Buried Alive" is the albums low point. It feels weak coming off the back of the fun couple of minuets we had with "Area 52″ and with Dr Octagon making a contribution wins no fevers with me. It seems like, they made the song to put him in. Sure at least he fits comfortably in the song, it's just he raps over a guitar solo, and the song doesn't please me.
"Always", the "engagement song" starts with a drum loop that I think I heard on an old keyboard one day. Going into the home stretch the music picks up in quality and "Always" is going on the right direction. Coupled with "Despair" that really builds up to quite a climatic end with pounding toms and tremolo guitars it leads us nicely into album closer, "Wedding Song". The final track opens with the beautiful sounds of birds in an "oasis" in Texas. It'll make you drift off into a sea of honey drifting on by, it really is a very good end to the album. An album which I had so much expectation for, that ultimately fell short.
There are some really good songs, but the songs around them fail to hold up to their quality and the album feels like a solid yet mixed bag. There is one too many bumps on this ride and there wasn't enough energy throughout the album, which is not enough for me.
on 4 November 2013
What a disappointment!! I love all that YYYs have produced previously. In my opinion Mosquito as an album sounds like it has been put together with filler tracks to pad out a few good songs. I've listened to the album through over and over with the hope I was missing something and it would grow on me. 'Area 52' and 'Buried Alive' get skipped, they are that poor. What a shame from one of my favourite bands. Enjoy the back catalogue and give this one a miss.
on 25 October 2013
This is a fantastic record from a band who have shown themselves to be the most inventive and colourful of the batch of groups who emerged in the early naughties. I held off for a while buying this record because of a few mixed reviews but what a mistake. Brilliant production , wonderful inventive songwriting across the whole record. The sound of a band stretching out, bursting with life and full of imagination. Just fantastic, if you are a long term fan and enjoy a group who evolves buy with confidence!
on 3 November 2013
It's not their strongest album and it's certainly no Fever To Tell, but hey, it's ok. I'm a huge fan of the YYY's and Karen O and after seeing them live at a festival over summer and hearing them play a few songs off this album it's really grown on me. 'Mosquito' and 'Despair' and the two stand our tracks for me but they still don't really touch on the raw punk-garage rock that the YYY's used to produce. Oh well, I think all bands should be given the space to make a couple of mediocre albums without too much judgement and hopefully they will come out with something louder and thrashier next time. Saying that, even for a mediocre album of theirs it's still a million times better then a lot of 'indie' bands of the moment. I mean really.