Monday, March 27, 2006

Music Mondays - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

New Yeah Yeah Yeahs album Show Your Bones grew on me. Pretty quickly. And I say this as one who did not want to like it. Not just because it was the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but because I really did try to like their debut album, Fever to Tell, but couldn't. While seeing YYY live is definitely an experience, beer pouring over your body and/or spitting it out can only be done so many different ways, before you realize that Karen O's vocals can be just a little irritating. At times. Which apparently many people liked and why YYY did so well: alternatively jarring and soothing, the first album refused to be catagorized as it both tortured and comforted.

I don't particularly like being tortured. And so it was with expectation of more of the same that I listened to Show Your Bones. And I'm glad to say I'm glad I'm disappointed. Because Karen O may have taken a queue from the crossover success of Maps (it played on Alice fercryinoutloud) and toned down the yelps and howls to something slightly less abrasive. Which is not to say it sounds different, just - well, almost pretty.

Karen O does let her vocals roar from time to time, and when she does, such as on Way Out, it's a pleasant surprise rather than constant aural excess. It would be a welcome change to see her voice become what Siouxsie's became with time, or Chrissie Hynde - though I hope never as sedate as the latter. Nick Zinner's guitar still governs the guitar with incredible precision, but more definitively, and even Brian Chase's drumming seems a little less pounding, though no less mind-bogglingly complex.

Whereas the first album captured YYY with the raw immediacy that reflected the live performances, Show Your Bones is a studio album, with additional effects & instrumentation. As such, it makes a case for fans of Fever to Tell who may lament that the overproduction takes away from the band's intensity. And they'd be right.

That said, whereas the edges are cleaner, the album still manages to maintain diversity, from the driving dark guitars and pounding percussion on Fancy to the jangley Appalachian dirge Warrior. The extra hands create a layered sense of depth that the two-dimensional first album lacked, making the album more rewarding with each listen.

YYY gains plaudits (and likely more fans) with this more (or possibly, too) refined album. Where Fever to Tell forced you to listen, Show Your Bones schemes textured sounds to make you want to listen.


Anonymous anonymous bob said...

i want to listen...
now. i didn't before i read this review.

March 29, 2006 2:10 PM  
Blogger the sightspeed guy said...

It's good. Give it the 3-times rule; you won't be disappointed.

I'm gonna start typing the word verifications to my comments. The first:


March 29, 2006 2:14 PM  

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