Friday, December 10, 2010

Album Review: Yeasayer - Odd Blood (4/5)

As the year draws to a close, I thought it was right I go back and visit some albums I'd passed over, over the course of this year—and there's quite a lot of them. First up is experimental Brooklyn based rock band Yeasayer's second album Odd Blood, an ominous, shudder-some indulge in all types of weird empirical rock-rienated sounds.

It's daring, which is what I like about most, but it's not appealing in the same vein as maybe The National's High Violet. Things get off to a bizarre start with “The Children,” a warped rattling of distorted robotic vocals, warbling overtone effects and a monotonous grungy production to boot, it's an numbing start, but things balance out nicely over the next couple tracks as the band explore cool '80s synth-driven rock on the clattering production of “Ambling Alp.” “Madder Red,” trails that '80s influence, but probably clocking in more on melody and moody soundscapes.

There's some influences from French eletronica duo Air on “I Remember” an airy ballad, trickling with soft electronic undertones and ambient guitar patterns penetrating the backdrop. Picking up the tempo is “O.N.E.” an exuberant upbeat number, cavorting with cool dance rhythms, beats and synths.

On the last half we find “Love Me Girl,” which sounds a lot like Air too—very aerial soundscapes with subdued plodding dance beats and keyboards for good measure, it sounds good although not as good as “I Remember.” “Rome” lays down some cool repetitive beats here and there over its clobbering production, but I'm not too keen—on the other hand I like “Strange Reunion,” a lot, which alerts some alienistic undertones, nicely balancing out the weird with some clambering drum beats.

Last couple tracks are a little underwhelming, but they're not bad. “Mondegreen” is a bit tedious as well as too repetitive, you can only “make love 'til the morning light” so many times. As interesting as the title “Grizelda” is, the song's meddling with stranger, weirder and more indulging sounds doesn't quite work here—almost attempting to re-call the same afro-centric beats as American indie rock band Vampire Weekend.

It's probably not the multi-genre, successful experimental rock and psychedelic pop indulging masterpiece they were gunning for but Odd Blood is quite an invigorating set, from the gripping aberrant numbing rock sounds of the opening track to the lighter, more bubbly 'scapes of “I Remember” and “Love Me Girl,” it actually works quite well—even if not everything works.

Best: I Remember, O.N.E., Strange Reunion, Ambling Arp, Madder Red, Love Me Girl, The Children


ww_adh said...

This album is getting a lot of attention on the year-end lists, but I wasn't that impressed by it. "O.N.E." was a good song though. Albums released earlier this year, I plant to review soon: The Roots and Deerhunter.

J.Mensah said...

I reviewed The Roots too! I gave them a 4.5. Really awesome album.