The clicking heels of indie rock’s primitive parade have been striding by for a number of years now. Releases, both current and of the not so recent variety, by artists like Animal Collective, Devendra Banhart, Coco Rosie, Grizzly Bear, and Joanna Newsom all bang the can for musical adventures of a more archaic nature, and upon first, second, and third listens to Yeasayer’s excellent new disc, All Hour Cymbals (We Are Free), it would seem fitting to slide the Brooklyn band into this slowly bloating sect of the indie elite. With centerpieces like “Wait for the Summer” and “2080” plump full of a variety of ancient treasures and trinkets – percussive mantras, ritualistic chanting, enraptured hand clapping/ foot stomping, and the colorful clamor of what sound like regional, makeshift instruments – Yeasayer spin the globe more than a few times throughout the course of All Hour Cymbals, excavating diverse musical relics and ricocheting rhythms from a variety of cultural/historical backgrounds. At any given moment, Yeasayer’s powerful pedigree pulls from African, Asian, Caribbean, Mexican, and South American origins to achieve an astounding sense of other worldliness few of their peers can match.
And yet, amazingly, as an undeniable flurry of age old embers glide around this fascinating batch of cosmic folk, All Hour Cymbals also grazes with a more modern flock of similar artistic expressions. “Germs” and “No Need to Worry” wooze with the kind of heady guitar lines and punch drunk vocals that, while floating left of center in the mix, still blast immediately outward towards the almighty. It is an emblematic production approach…one the band could probably credit Pink Floyd for inspiring. And transitioning these two tracks together? A tasty Kid A interlude, “Ah Weir”.
Such overt touchstones (believe me, I could keep going…Jim Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon’s Graceland, etc, etc.) sometimes pave the way for a more schizophrenic listening experience. Yet All Hour Cymbals ebb and flows like cocksure clockwork, steadily ticking along from opener “Sunrise” to the closing moments of “Red Cave”. For this, Yeasayer have crafted the biggest surprise of the year...a stop you in your tracks kind of album that should have the band playing Grand Marshal to the entire bloody parade for quite some time to come. - David Pitz