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Fragrant World

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Yeasayer's third album, Fragrant World, is a hulking beast of a record. Keyboards clank and wheeze, tiny claps stumble against busted drum machines, and there's very little obvious guitar. It's an album that grapples with the schizophrenia of the modern world by gathering piles of electronics and molding them into something huge and often gorgeous.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 21, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Secretly Canadian
  • ASIN: B008D42JI6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,489 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Someone in yeasayer must have offended the editors of pitchfork, because this album is very impressive. Probably the best thing they've ever done, despite the fact nothing is quite on the level of odd blood's singles. But did Pinkerton have anything as catchy as buddy holly? Did exile have anything as immediate as brown sugar? If you like weird psychedelic pop music, then it doesn't get much better than fragrant world.
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Format: MP3 Music
i got this because i liked several songs on their last album but not the whole thing. and it blew my mind. they've toned down the jam band elements and folky stuff and gone toward a more brooding electro nature. it's VERY boomy too, sick kick and bass for a rock band; almost hip hop low end. if you have a woofer watch out. and the vocals/lyrics have a great flow too. kind of a mix between maynard on puscifer/perfect circle and duran duran or tears for fears if you can imagine. HIGHLY recommend for anyone that likes beats and grooves mixed in with their rock music. there was a band on interscope called Woven about 10 years ago that this reminds me of too.
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Format: Audio CD
If you're looking to enjoy yourself, but still want something unique, then this is it. They're not trying to make the next album of the year, they're just doing what they do best...make freakishly catchy indie/electro-pop. The point they had in mind with this album? To show the listener a good f$%#ing time. In the process they manage to challenge you in some spots, so it never feels too straight-forward or boring. I can almost guarantee you'll like it if you're a fan of their previous work, although this is also an excellent place to begin for those new to the band. Here Yeasayer make some infectiously funky, catchy, electronic-laiden, occasionally dark indie-pop. That's the best way I know how to say it. Listen to it with your friends and chill out, or blast it at a party; it works well either way. It is a solid release with virtually no filler (I'm still lukewarm with Demon Road), with some personal favorites being Folk Hero Shtick, Fingers Never Bleed, Blue Paper and Henrietta.
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Format: Audio CD
Consistency is not Yeasayer's strong suit. Sometimes you can listen to their songs and enjoy them for the well-written pop hits they are. But other times you turn them on and wonder what on earth you're listening to. 2010's Odd Blood featured some of the band's most magnetizing singles to date, but at their worst it sounded like they got lost in some nether region between George Harrison and Tears for Fears.

Rather than learn from their mistakes, the Brooklyn electro pop outfit continue plowing forward on their third LP, Fragrant World, and what was once an endearing band is finding themselves increasingly lost in the static.

But they're never lacking for enthusiasm; to the contrary, it's the overambitiousness of Fragrant World that drags it down. The album is incredibly highly digitized, even more so than its predecessor, Odd Blood, which was already heavy on electronic elements. The problem is that they try to do to much, and seem to have difficulty channeling all the layers and little flourishes into a cohesive whole.

There are fruity sounding instrumental sections, elements that seem to clash with one another, and combinations of instruments and electronics that just don't sound well together. The biggest offender is "No Bones," which opens with some dated synths, a backing track that goes in every direction except forward, and slumping vocals which are so heavily digitized it sounds more like machine than man. Even once singer Chris Keating takes the encoding off his vocals, the track still fails to gain any real momentum.

"Demon Road" is fraught with issues of its own. The beat is very hard to take seriously with its half hearted flute and silly bouncy guitar aesthetic.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Anand Wilder once said of this album "The music, the rhythms are a little bit more abstract. We allowed ourselves to experiment more, not really worrying about making the most catchy, anthemic pop songs for the Lollapalooza crowd ... We definitely wanted it to be a little bit darker than the last record."

Well, I guess that means I am part of the "Lollapalooza crowd" he is rejecting. Whereas I found Odd Blood and All Hour Cymbals to be masterpieces, each unique, but each incredibly accessible and enjoyable, I found this album to be cold, obscure, and ultimately boring.

If you are in the business of making popular music, you have a choice to make - how much do you subordinate your art to your audience's expectations. If you completely ignore how your listeners will respond, and become too absorbed in the echo chamber of your own artistic license, you potentially may create great art, but you run the risk of creating "art" that is art in label only.

I definitely feel that Yeasayer lost interest tailoring its art to listeners like me on this one. I just feel no response to this other than an urge to turn it off. Maybe others find more to appreciate in this "experimental" work, but for me it is just self-referential nonsense.

I really look forward to seeing what their next album holds in store, though.
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