Odd Blood, the second album from Brooklyn natives Yeasayer, has been a long time in the making. Following their critically acclaimed debut album All Hour Symbols in 2007 diehard fans have been waiting three long years for the follow up, so the pressure was on for the trio to not let their devoted followers down. And fret not, freaky ones, they have delivered a belter.
The beauty of this band, which is obvious from the outset, is that they don’t adhere to rules of genre or influence, and so laugh in the faces of us lazy writers, who like nothing more than a nice neat pigeon hole to squeeze music into. It is easy to toss the names of MGMT, Animal Collective and TV On The Radio about when discussing Odd Blood, but that would be an injustice to the originality and creative flare of Yeasayer.
Somewhat of a reinvention from their debut album, throughout Odd Blood we get smacked about and sonically felt up by cow bells, fuzzy rock guitars, world drums, break beats, ooohs and ahhhhs, hand claps, synths. To say that their influences are broad is like saying that John Terry has a ‘bit of an eye for the ladies’. This is no ordinary electro pop record.
Album opener The Children is a dark and moody march through echoing marimbas, layered and lowered electro vocals, lush saxophone hooks and an ominous sentiment. Yet it seamlessly segues into their first single Ambling Alp – a slab of cockle-warming pop, which leaves you grinning your face off, hugging your mates and baying for more. It is this obvious penchant for catching the listeners off guard that makes this album so irresistible. Anthemic Madder Red sees big beat tribal drums, middle-eastern pop and indie guitar solos meshing together as if they had always been harmonious bedfellows.
Second single, O.N.E is one of the most uplifting break up songs I have yet to hear. Blissed out harmonies bump along to a backdrop of break beats, bouncing eighties influenced synths and just the right amount of cowbell.
However this is not a completely perfect album. There are a couple of weak spots, namely Rome with a baseline slightly too close to Fat Boy Slim’s Weapon Of Choice for comfort, and then there’s easily forgettable Strange Reunions, but all in all this is a staggeringly impressive experiment in reassessing and rearranging the current pop landscape, creating a genre busting, deliciously weird result. Odd Blood is easily in the running for being one of the best and most innovative albums of the year.
Yeasayer were featured in issue 9 of Amelia’s magazine and also featured on our compilation USB stick.
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