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.
With the digipack deluxe edition you get four of the songs done acoustically, but its definitely the originals that you will keep coming back to.
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There are enough good objective reviews for this album, here is one of pure subjectivity.
Is it possible to actually fall in love with someone's voice? I have fallen for Karen O's. The way she sings "oh" sends shivers down my spine, when proclaiming "You suddenly complete me" I feel my heart will implode with desire. From the opening mood lifting dance track, proceeding as it does into companion track 2, "dripping with alchemy" indeed, images of The Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, Blondie and the New York streets photographed in William Friedkin's Cruising. Track 3 is my personal favourite, the marriage between the levelled depths of melodic melancholic, musical arrangement and miss O's voice elevates my spirits to sky-ward intensity, "summer moon, take your shut eye, in my room, in your room" I feel alive with longing. Track 4 takes a turn of pace and direction, but not emotional fulfilment, a grand piece with Karen pleading "love don't cry", which is difficult for me not to with the "skeleton me" vocal refrain. tracks 5 and 6 loosen the emotional pull, providing a quickening pace change before track 7 grabs my emotional strings once more when miss O sings "want you to be my prize" no-one I have ever heard can sing "oh" with so many variations of heart-tugging intensity as to leave this pair of ears wanting more and more and more and more. Track 8 sounds funky and vocally playful, before track 9 begins, like an emergent drive via darkness to a place you can't wait to get to again "fall sweetly, hang heavy". Finale track 10, is a slow instrumentally minimalist song to make my eyes water, an ending with gravitas. I can barely wait to hear what new heights of emotional ecstasy my favourite band will take me to with their next album.
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.
Incidentally, I'd highly recommend this Digipack version as it includes acoustic versions of 4 of the album tracks. It's interesting to compare them with the synthed versions (especially 'Skeletons' which works well in both formats) & see the different impact the change in sound gives them.
Part of me wants to hate them. Karen O & Co. are some god-damned ice-cool, so irritatingly hip and self-assured that a little segment of my psyche couldn't stand them, if only I didn't love them so much.
If ever was my chance to eject them from their hallowed reverence in my heart, to repeal the acerbic journalese immunity that their magnificent back-catalogue has afforded them in spite of their posturing: the time is now.
With the imminent release of It's Blitz, there is an amnesty on my pent-up niggles with the band that have been - like Mary Poppins - practically perfect in every way. The simple reason for this is It's Blitz has hardly any guitars on it, at all.
Music Week has simultaneously - and rather inelegantly, by their own admission - compared the whole record to both Blondie and the genre of disco! *Oh dear, surely this must be the end for our tenacious trio? Have Ms O and Co. gone the way of the dodo? Will It's Blitz be more of a mayfly than a doodle-bug? For the answers to this and more, dear visitor, read on...*
With the trend towards all that is Eighties at the moment, we'd be forgiven for thinking that these hip-kids were jumping onto another bandwagon, particularly since this album initially seems to have more in common with the Ting Tings then their past work. OK, that comparison is overly harsh, though they are certainly taking a leaf from the collective compendium of avant-garde electronica emanating from Brooklyn and basements apartments of the swelling ranks of sound artists from the further reaches of NYC's five boroughs. Parts & Labor recently released a not dissimilar record and - though only one will get air-play - both are ambitious and beautiful, full of ambient electronica and yet still passionate and rockin'.
Yes, that's right: as reward for persevering with both this article and the album proper, the rocking moments do come; they just take five tracks to happen. Then, suddenly, the YYYs are Wayne's World band, Crucial Taunt covering Ballroom Blitz. There are also sound-bytes reminiscent of Seventies' kids TV mysteries, slips of Eighties' hip-hop, a veritable smorgasbord of disparate delights crafted into a neo-cut'n'paste rollercoaster, all rattling long at a fair old lick with the inertia of past glories. By the time you get to Runaway, a track as achingly delicate and beautiful as a Jean-Pierre Jeunet flick, you'll have fallen in love with YYYs all over again.
So, yeah, I guess it would be easy to whinge and mourn the loss of the guitar. But I'm not an NME reader, I can live without it. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are doing what all truly important, historic, era-defining bands do. They've done what Radiohead did. They've left the likes of The Kills behind and are now grown up and moving in the same circles as PJ Harvey - handling adolescent emotions with hindsight and wisdom (not that you can't still dance to it). They are evolving, and - sidestepping any overused natural world metamorphosis metaphors - they have transformed from something wonderful into something completely different yet equally spectacular. With each track, you're drawn further and further into the YYYs new world and, after the initial culture shock, you'll be pleased to find that you'll not need your international socket adapter after all: it's entirely oddly familiar and comfortable. I love them. Album of the year, already.
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A real good follow-up to the second album "show your bones". Even though it is more commercial with more synths and no more real punk attitude like the first EP or the debut album "fever to tell", this album contains nothing but great songs!
I advise to buy the edition with the bonus acoustic tracks. Those who bought the I-Tunes EP know what I mean and there is nothing to add!
For a few years now The Yeah,Yeah,Yeahs have been @ the cutting edge of their particular scene.Simple ingredients done really well.Good songs.Compotent musicianship,Catchy hooks.Interesting,vibrant.Can't be faulted.Keeps their growing loyal fans of which i'm one! wanting more.I look forward to the next instalment.
This is my first Yeah Yeah Yeahs album purchase - though I expect it wont be my last! Fabulous, especially tracks like Dull Life which is my favourite. It reminds me of old Siouxsie & the Banshees albums which is certainly no bad thing.
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