Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito
Yeah Yeah Yeahs are still innovating, and even those previously apathetic to them will be hard-pressed to deny that they’re still one of the most exciting guitar bands around
The much-maligned artwork displayed on the fourth Yeah Yeah Yeahs album shows a garish baby doll being attacked by the titular insect. It isn’t the prettiest representation of the Brooklyn trio’s music, yet in many ways it sums up their philosophy: brash, ballsy and not particularly interested in anyone’s opinion.
Nevertheless, it’s just as well that the music isn’t as peculiar as the artwork suggests. True, changes were afoot in the Yeah’s camp during the writing process. Singer Karen O’s sense of displacement after her relocation from Los Angeles to New York are played out in the lyrics of These Paths and Subway (the percussion of the latter cleverly provided by the rocking motion of an underground train).
Guitarist Nick Zinner went through a break-up during the same period. Yet while the general feeling during recording may have been glum, there are no maudlin dirges among these 11 tracks.
There is reflection, certainly, as heard on the slow throb of Wedding Song and opener Sacrilege ’s ingenious use of a gospel choir, but these are perky, upbeat tracks, subtly layered to maximise impact.
Area 52 is a fun, punky number facetiously documenting an alien invasion. The title track sees Karen O’s spiky yelp in fine fettle over a chorus that teases and taunts, while rapper Kool Keith’s (aka Dr Octagon) contribution to the streetwise strut of the James Murphy-produced Buried Alive is surprising, although not ineffective.
With the the simple set-up of a singer, a guitarist and a drummer, Yeah Yeah Yeahs are still innovating, and even those previously apathetic to them will be hard-pressed to deny that they’re still one of the most exciting guitar bands around. Mosquito makes it four for four.
Download: Sacrilege, Area 52