Review Summary: Yeah Yeah Yeahs strike a balance between Fever to Tell and Show Your Bones, improving on the latter while sometimes reaching the formers hights
There’s a case to be made that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are best on EPs. A lot of their reputation still lies on their two early EPs (Yeah Yeah Yeahs
) and even the better of their two full lengths is a perfect case of "would of made a perfect EP." Fever to Tell
contains several incredibly great tracks, but balancing them out is an equal number of underwritten filler. Coming in its wake, last year's Show Sour Bones
saw the band streamlining their sound for unfortunately dull results. So it’s a good thing that the bands latest release is an EP and an even better one that its very good.
All of the songs on Is Is
were written between Fever to Tells
release and the recording of Show Your Bones
, and where all extensively road tested on their past tours. Opener “Rockers to Swallow” is as atonal and noisy as anything the band has every recorded, but its also a bit dull and aimless. Not so much a misstep as a sidestep. Fortunately, its follow, lead single “Down Boy” is the exact opposite. Filled with eerie keys, an irresistible chant of a chorus, and an explosion of drums and guitar, “Down Boy” affectively highlights everything that’s so great about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs from Karen O’s feral wailing to Nick Zinner’s monstrous guitar sounds to Brian Chase’s crashing drums. The title track offers a similar portrait of the bands strengths with its spacey guitar riffs and haunting vocal melodies. “Kiss Kiss” is a great straight ahead rocker and closer “10 x 10” offers a sleek and powerful groove.
, in the end, shows what’s probably the bands biggest strength: their ability to take noisy and unconventional instrumentation and song structures and put them into simple and, above all else, catchy songs. They manage to do this here without sacrificing either their originality or their universal appeal. So here's to hoping the band write enough quality material for a solid full length, or, who knows, keep writing really, really good EPs.