Review Summary: The third full-length release from one of New York’s finest is their most ambitious, expansive, and their best.It’s Blitz!
. Nice title. After the stripped-down Indie Rock of 2006’s Show Your Bones
, I didn’t expect this. But then I probably had my head up my arse because Electro is the flavour of the decade and no one should be surprised that anyone tries their hand at Electro
these days. Karen O and her two amigos have managed to maintain their Indie Rock roots while blending in some pretty smooth synth and dance-punk beats. The soaring synth catches the ear and Karen’s vocals are, well, awesome.
sets out the stall and the electro, dance-punk, indie-dance, Bloc Party
, The Rapture
-esque influence is hard to miss. The last minute sounds like it belongs in an Ibiza nightclub at some ridiculous hour of the morning, accompanied by white pills and chavs. The energetic feeling infuses itself in to even the most tender of tracks, as the gentle verses of Runaway
feel like they are building to something well before the bridge kicks in. This energy can at times manifest itself in disco-pop moments that don’t seem to fit with Yeah Yeah Yeahs
, but the catchy-as-fu
ck hooks and layered guitars make up for these lapses in concentration from the trio.
To say that this is the most ‘complete’ album the band has released probably doesn’t do enough justice to Show Your Bones
, but the depth on this one speaks for itself. Kicking off with 20 minutes of their finest work, the weaker moments are largely limited to interludes and out-of-place bridges. Shame And Fortune
would probably be more at home on Show Your Bones
but it’s only the incongruous use of roaring synth and whatever else that let this one down. It’s as if they felt obliged to make sure each track has at least some electro
moments – it is unnecessary in this raw rocker of song. Dragon Queen
could be a The Rapture
b-side, and I guess this best illustrates the band’s change in direction. The dance-pop of Heads Will Roll
is a long way from Way Out
So, some of the better moments. Well, it’s 40 pretty enjoyable minutes of what I call Indie Dance. And I guess that’s the term that best sums up the sound of this album. I wouldn’t say it’s the ‘Dance Punk’ of a Bloc Party
remix, nor is it Yeah Yeah Yeahs
-style Indie Rock. Anyway, back to the good bits. Dull Life
’s rapid-fire, bouncing pre-choruses are sublime, contrasting with both the tender verses and heavy choruses. Karen O’s vocals are as charming here as they are on Zero
, the first two minutes of which are some of the band’s finest. The mood is changed dramatically for an intense, gorgeous five minutes of Skeletons
. As the bagpipe-y backing comes in, the track takes on a Titanic theme song vs. Braveheart/Scottish Highlands music [feat. Yeah Yeah Yeahs]
-feel, which is pretty choice novelty value, apart from the fact that it’s a pretty choice song.
Karen O takes centre stage from the opening bars of the album and commands attention throughout with her eccentric, alluring vocals and an energy that underpins the best 40 minutes the band’s released yet. Her vocals range from sounding like she might just be about to top herself, to faking an orgasm, to screaming her effing head off, and it works. The electro influence is the most obvious change for the band on this record, but the fact still remains, and always will, that Karen O is the centrepiece of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and that is a damn good thing.