Mind-blowing opinions aside, Yeasayer
blatantly disagree with their weird into-the-woods press photos by wearing normal clothes at this concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. This strikes me as an interesting move for a band that (many claim) dive deeper in the drug-addled abyss with the space-psych of Odd Blood
, their sophomore effort that provided most of the evening's track list. Chris Keating
, dressed in a blazer, moves like a camera shy Mick Jagger, and looks like a pre-Captain Crunch Chris Martin. The bassist still sports a tank top, but that's beside the point. All outside comparisons aside, the sound is bigger, the songs hit harder, and the energy blows away anything we've seen them do before. And they are known for their live set. Now you can experience it as well.
The lighting is dubbed "alien game show" by a technician, an aesthetic that matches well with the album's sound. The band rips through their set, mostly new jams, as well as some definitive favorites off All Hour Cymbals
like "2080" and "Sunrise", both with updated synth-y tones, and both greater-than-or-equal-to any previous performance. But tracks like "O.N.E." and "Madder Red" win the night. It is clear almost everyone in attendance has spun the record several million times before showing up, and know every word, and every beat drop. It is next to impossible to get a New York crowd to move. Yeasayer have people pole dancing the stage.
After all, as Chris Keating said repeatedly, New York is their favorite place to play, and Music Hall is their favorite space. It is no wonder the show sold out; they basically took out their laser canons and fired awesome into the crowd. And we loved it.
That is why we're glad we got to capture it all. Well, mostly we're just glad we got to dance. Now you can join us. - Joe Puglisi
Since the release of their critically acclaimed 2007 debut All Hour Cymbals, Yeasayer has been around the world and back again. While their first record was conceived in total artistic isolation, constant touring forced Yeasayer to finally engage with their contemporaries. Inspired by musicians hell-bent on sonic experimentation as well as those more comfortable in a pop context, Yeasayer find their domain spanning across the musical spectrum. Studied, road worn, and eager to begin phase two, Yeasayer retreated to upstate New York to begin work on their new album titled ODD BLOOD.
If All Hour Cymbals was Yeasayer's attempt at global and ambient cultural mash-up then ODD BLOOD takes place in an off-world colony sometime after the Singularity. Glimmering reverb haze is eschewed and replaced by a cavalcade of disorienting pitch effects and flickering ectoplasmic wisps. Instead of layered vocal harmonies the processed vocals congeal into blots and blobs of otherworldly chatter. Many organic elements are left behind and replaced by sounds and rhythms that inspire the body as much as the mind. At times Yeasayer sound as if they would be at home playing live in scene from Blade Runner or inside one of Oscar Neimeyer's concrete modernist temples from the 1960s.
ODD BLOOD is an album divided into two halves; the first being top heavy with pop songs, while the latter full of the playful and strange.
Side One. The album begins with "The Children," a twisted chopped and screwed stomp, full of sub bass and spooky keyboards. Distorted vocals create hidden hooks and it's immediately clear: this isn't the same Yeasayer. After the rubble clears the album leaps into Yeasayer's version of the pop anthem with "Ambling Alp," "Madder Red," "I Remember," and "O.N.E." Yeasayer have plunged into the craft of pop music, and the exercise has paid off.
Side Two. The second half of ODD BLOOD is slightly more experimental in nature. Sci-fi musical jams ("Mondegreen"), maniacal rants ("Grizelda"), and paranoia ("Love Me Girl") show the band exploring more paranoid motifs, yet never deprive the listener of hooks and ear candy.
ODD BLOOD plays out at a blistering pace, yet it never sacrifices depth or content. It is immediately evident the band has advanced in songwriting as well as sonic craft. Lyrically, it is a more mature and honest album than the first, as the band demonstrates a confidence to explore more personal themes alongside vividly depicted tales. One thing is certain: Yeasayer are accomplished audiologists who are willing to pilfer decades of pop sensibilities and cultural history to create something that is uniquely their own.