17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
US trio Yeasayer are musical magpies, cut from the same colourful cloth as acts like MGMT or Santogold. "Odd Blood" is their sophomore disc, comprising catchy jittery electronic Pop with a myriad of influences.
The woozy "Strange Reunions" has a Middle Eastern feel as does "Madder Red" (with a hummed wordless chorus), while the psychedelic clap-filled ballad "I Remember" is remniscent of "Animal Collective". At 10 tracks, no two songs are alike. Their debut CD was beautifully fractured psychedelic Folk/Pop, and they retain their strong sense of melody despite the change in style.
Other standouts are the Radiohead-style "The Children" (with eerie vocodered vocals and clanking beats), the tribal-sounding "O.N.E.", the progressively trancey "Love Me Girl" (my favourite), the bouncy "Rome" with stabbing syths & the experimental ballad "Grizelda".
Otherworldly and highly infectious!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2010
Yeasayer's newest album certainly caught me off guard. I only listened to their 2007 debut once and was pretty bored with it. But after hearing the singles, "Ambling Alp" and "O.N.E." and reading positive critical reviews, I decided to take a chance. I'm glad I did. Odd Blood turns out to be a truly awesome sophomore effort from these indie rock innovators. It is an album that may be labeled as indie rock, but actually transcends that genre to become a truly terrific pop record.
The band's songs seem to be a patchwork of several differnt sounds and styles. There is psychedelic folk, electronica, dance, world music, pop and rock among others. Yet this is no mere mash up of various styles for sheer experimentation. Yeasayer blend these different threads together to weave a cohesive tapestry that sounds familiar yet original and fresh at the same time.
But what really sets Yeasayer apart from the pack is their ability to write good songs. They could have just played around with their various influences and released an album full of sonic concoctions that were nothing but noise. Instead, these guys have written an album's worth of stellar songs. There are hooks and melodies aplenty, but the lyrics are emotionally resonant as well. In Ambling Alp, there is a passionate cry to "raise your head and wear your wounds with pride". I Remember delivers the lyric "you're stuck in my mind all the time", and on O.N.E., Chris Keating sings, "You don't love me anymore, and I'm glad that you don't, 'cause I can't have you anymore" set to a melody that Peter, Bjorn and John would have killed to come up with.
What more can you ask for from an album? Great songs, innovative sounds and emotional depth. It all coalesces into a marvelously enthralling indie rock/pop gem that grows richer and more satisfying with each listen and will be on the short list for the best albums of 2010.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2010
This is totally new wave. It's just remarkable. Yeasayer blew my mind with their first album. Literally. I could not think for an hour, just trying to realize what I just listened to. This one is a little more clear. It's totally Eighties pop music. It's just groovy and new-wavey.
Let's get to the really good songs. I loved "O.N.E.," because it was just something you could make a hit record out of. Forget Ke$ha, who should never have stayed at #1 for that long, and listen to real pop should-be hitmakers.
"Ambling Alp" was also just as good. A highlight here, with such beautiful sounds and lyrics.
"Madder Red" was pretty weird, but really good.
Among other highlights on this masterpiece are "I remember," "Rome," and the awesome "Love Me Girl."
In conclusion, buy this album or I will put a bumper sticker on your car saying "I don't listen to real music. I suck and have no life in the real world. I am stuck in what's popular and not what's good."
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2010
I was a late comer (last summer) to "All Hour Cymbals" but I love that album and was really looking forward to this one. I have been desperately trying to like it since Tuesday and I have to be honest: this is nothing like the previous album and a huge disappointment. There are some catchy songs, but I cannot name one that comes close to having the staying power of nearly every song from the previous album. Worse still, I find about half the album just bad. I have no doubt it will appeal to a broader audience as much of it is probably pretty danceable and hummable, but it does not capture the subtle almost Sung Tongish grace of much of previous album. While "Cymbals" was reserved, subtle, catchy and beautiful, this is up front, in your face and sounds like it was produced for Top 40 radio play (I say that more in feeling rather than as a general judgment of the bands purpose).
I know musicians progress and often that progression leaves us yearning for the old while we learn to appreciate the nuances of the new, but in this case Yeasayer has progressed in a direction that I just cant get into.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2010
This is it! This is the new direction of music. Brooklyn, NY is the hotbed of music these days and Yeasayer is leading the pack in my opinion. The Brooklyn sound fuses an electronic sound that harks back to the 80s with a modern twist of great songwriting. You can easily tell that all the members in Yeasayer are highly skilled musicians and they know how to use their skills in effective songwriting techniques. Most importantly, the songs are catchy and don't require many listens before they creep into your brain and settle in. What a great band. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2010
I want to start of by saying that if this review was based on the two singles from Odd Blood, Ambling Alp and O.N.E. it would be a 5 star + review. The first time I heard Ambling Alp (think it was on WOXY) a smile formed on my face and I went on a mission to find that Mp3. I then heard their next single, entitled O.N.E. - another funky track that is sure to elicit a smile. The thought and detail that went into producing these songs is most definitely apparent when you throw on a pair of good headphones and just sit in a quiet room and listen. Slight nuances that are not normally heard when blasting down the highway come out and really show what Yeasayer is all about.
So now that I've rambled on about why I think the two singles are so great, let's get into the rest of the album.
When I first popped the disc into my CD player I was instantly let down. Yes, "Children" could be considered a relatively effective intro track with its slowed down tempo and notions of "building up" for what is to come, but overall I wasn't really impressed. The beat and looped piano worked well, but it could have done without the distorted audio. "The Children" leads into "Ambling Alp", one of the catchiest songs of 2010 as of this writing. If by the end of this track you do not have the lyric "Stick up for yourself son" repeating in your head, this album is probably not for you. "Madder Red" is an epic sounding "indie rock ballad" with a solid hook and great vocals. It reminds me of their first album, All Hour Cymbals. "I Remember", and "O.N.E." are two more that are worth talking about.
The rest of the album is good, but nothing stands out in my mind as being something I want to hear repeatedly. Highlight tracks on the album include:
Odd Blood is the album that will help project Yeasayer more into the mainstream. While this album may be just a hair shy of commercial radio play, this is no indicator of success (by any means!). For those who have not heard their first album, it is definitely worth a listen - at a minimum, listen to the single "Sunrise."
As a side note, there is a "making of" studio tour video posted at Pitchfork, and if you are into the band go watch it, very cool.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
Although this is a pretty big turn-about for Yeasayer, they manage to pull off the stylistic shift with aplomb. Going from Celtic/African/Gospel to an amalgam of 80's synthesizers and vocals that hark back to Queen is not easy. However, this thoughtful trio has managed to pull off an album that is charming, experimental, and on the whole a lot of fun.
ONE and Mondegreen are funky exercises in different stereotypical song tropes, but they make them their own.
And Ambling Alp is just plain old badass. Buy the album, you won't regret it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2010
Put simply: Really? Has anyone else noticed the obvious early 'Some Great Reward'-era Depeche Mode influence? "Hold me like you used to, Control me like you used to" (O.N.E.) seems right out of the Martin Gore handbook; not to mention the dreamy falsetto voice...
With the years gone by, I must say Yeasayer have a hand up on sound depth. This album is done well, and despite the obvious comparison I noted, I can't help but get on my melancholic groove.
Recommended to young and old.
A recent analysis in Scientific Reports revealed that -- it's true -- all popular music these days sounds the same. You can look it up yourself; it was done by computers and scientists and everything. Lucky us, we live in the days of mass communication and internet technology, and although people who DON'T sound like everyone else aren't usually in the mainstream, they aren't that hard to find for those who know how to look. Hence, Yeasayer.
When I first discovered Yeasayer, I wasn't sure what I was listening to. It sounded like the soundtrack to a water park that runs on fever dreams and which caters to old souls inside young, sun-baked bodies. That's no good, though. It's poetic and all, but who really knows what I'm talking about? The point, really, is that they're good, unusual, and you should check them out.
ALL HOUR CYMBALS -- 5 stars
More raw instrumentation than you find in most bands, their first album has the coarse-granola-sensibility of a Rusted Root with the chaotic storytelling of an Animal Collective. Every song sounds like it was inspired by a bonfire, rocket launch, or church revival. There's an earthen, unwashed humanity to each tune, like the sound of a nerve being jangled and soothed at the same time. Standouts: "2080" (a bittersweet anthem with a bridge than never fails to give me goosebumps), "No Need To Worry" (another slow burning tune with an operatic and uplifting chord progression), and "Red Cave" (my favorite song of theirs so far; an incrementally aggressive mountain climber of a song that hits a dense joyful core at the end).
ODD BLOOD - 5 stars
The first song leads listeners to expect something darker and uglier than their debut record. "The Children" sounds like it was recorded in a flooded factory and then slowed down to give the vocals a mock-Waits-ish sound. I didn't care for it when I first heard it, and still don't. However, it was immediately followed by seven absolutely stellar tunes, starting with the playful, skip-to-my-loo beats of "Ambling Alp" and moving through to the retro-echoes of "Love Me Girl" and then on to my favorite of the album, the weird and slinky "Strange Reunions." Their sound is pulled closer to the chest in this album, and their vast collection of instruments is pared down in favor of more digitization, but the end result is no less uplifting or driven.
FRAGRANT WORLD - 4 stars
The electronic contraction that began in ODD BLOOD is fully realized here, and the end result is unfortunately a less approachable set of songs. It's almost as if they were attempting to parody some They All Sound The Same pop songs by skewering them with their trademark inventiveness, the end result being a lot of songs that sound like they could be great if only they'd settle down and figure out where they were headed. The backgrounds, vocals, instrumentation, and digitization is at a full frenzy, with none of it really cohering into something you can really sink your teeth into. I like grim-pop-propulsion of "Reagan's Skeleton," and "Folk Hero Shtick" is my favorite song off the album, with its bizarre braiding of a horror movie's mentality with a kid's show's pep tuned to an off key. There are only two songs I don't like ("No Bones" sounds like its insulting itself and "Glass of the Microscope" sounds like they slapped together remnants that they'd cut from four different songs), but the rest don't reach the same, grand heights as the group achieved in their previous two records. Still good, but no longer great. (Also, a head's up: I had serious downloading issues with this website's digital purchase for this album and had to get it via other means.)
on April 19, 2010
Yeasayer's album Odd Blood begins with "The Children", a song that has a very dark feel from the use of distorted vocals as well as a slow, driving rhythm. The song progresses and is full of lush ambience as well as a nice piano melody that comes in at various places throughout the song. The next song, "Ambling Alp", has a much more upbeat feeling to it. This is achieved through the use of a more upbeat tempo, as well as a catchy chorus hook. Ultimately, "Ambling Alp" has a much happier feel than the first track of the album, and this upbeat style is continued on the next song "Madder Red", which has almost an eighties feeling to it as it has a very glossy finish that is reminiscent of that decade. Furthermore, the song has a more traditional feel to it as it utilizes less sampled sounds, although the song still is based upon synthesizers.
"I Remember" is the next song and it begins with a nice ambient texture that is present throughout the song. However, as the song progresses, it builds upon its beat and adds elements of melody to the ambient background. Ultimately, "I Remember" is a very relaxing listening experience due to its wandering nature and laid-back feel. "O.N.E." follows and begins with a strong beat, and adds synthesizers to create a very catchy song that is full of energy, a nice contrast after the calmer "I Remember". Next comes "Love Me Girl", a song that begins slowly but quickly accelerates once the percussion section begins, creating a rhythm that is somewhat reminiscent of the tango. This song has a much clubbier feel than its predecessors on the album, most likely because of its deep bass and fast tempo. "Rome" follows and somehow sounds very retro yet modern at the same time. This is achieved because the song's tempo and beat sound very vintage, yet the music is generated electronically resulting in a very unique sound that emulates older rock and roll music, yet puts it into a digital format. "Strange Reunions" begins with a sound that is reminiscent of music from the eastern hemisphere as there are synthesized sounds in the background that are highly reminiscent of sitars. Furthermore, the vocal style is similar to a hymn rather making the song sound even less western. Ultimately, the song is a very relaxed piece, in contrast to "Mondegreen" which begins with a very upbeat, harsh rhythm and almost frantic sounding vocals. This song contrasts very well with "Strange Reunions" as it is almost completely opposite, employing a horn section and much more defined melodies rather than the hazy ambience present in "Strange Reunions". However, the song makes a drastic change around the 3:30 mark as it loses its melody and beat, turning into an ambient atmosphere. The final song on the album, "Grizelda", is a very nice finish to the album as it is a both relaxing and powerful song. While it has a relatively slow tempo, the song manages to be full of energy and is a very rewarding listening experience. Ultimately, Odd Blood as a whole provides a very unique and interesting listening, with songs for every mood one may be in.