Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Mosquito


2.5
average

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
April 22nd, 2013 | 46 replies


Release Date: 04/16/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Splat.

It’s tough not to want to fall in love with Mosquito. Here is a record that is so defiantly its own beast that it proudly throws out a one-fingered salute to such concepts as “theme” or “direction.” The gist of Mosquito is that there is no gist. Yeah Yeah Yeahs have always been adept at changing their sound to accommodate the times; it’s why they’re still kicking around, headlining festivals and generally being a kickass rock band, while their early ‘00s NYC peers are gone or forgotten. Where 2009’s superb It’s Blitz! showed that the band could write a mean synth hook as well as Nick Zinner could up the fuzz, Mosquito delves even deeper into a sound that is increasingly divergent and, at times, barely recognizable as Yeah Yeah Yeahs. First single “Sacrilege” is a fine example, setting things off with a full blown gospel choir and a typically combustible performance by Karen O. The epic scope and superfluous backing is an odd tack, but it is in line with what the band has always been comfortable doing – pushing their boundaries while maintaining those sharp pop sensibilities. That anything-goes mentality is admirable, but where It’s Blitz! succeeded precisely because it was so focused, Mosquito dips its toes into far too many pools to ever have a chance to really stop and appreciate the feeling.

Somewhere in this jumbled mess of a record is a gem of an art-pop album, one where you can clearly see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs expounding on the eclectic promise that It’s Blitz! hinted at. The grotesque, reggae-tinged “Under The Earth;” the skittish breakbeat of “These Paths;” “Subway,” another in a long line of insta-classic Yeah Yeah Yeahs ballads; these are songs as thrilling and adventurous as anything the band has done before. Yet in the context of the rest of the album, these songs are oases of inspiration in a disjointed desert of half-baked ideas and uneven songwriting. It’s the aural equivalent of that bizarre cover, an amalgam of contrasting styles and thoughts that clash playfully and loudly against one another but rarely in concert. Songs like the title track and “Area 52” almost sound like parodies of the band’s punk past, more an after-school special or something you’d expect to find on a rarities compilation rather than standing by side with the haunting “These Paths” or the meditative heartache of “Subway.” Dr. Octagon’s (aka Kool Keith) guest spot on “Buried Alive” is even more bizarre, a textbook case of cognitive dissonance that is meant to be fun but is just embarrassing for all involved. In Mosquito’s discombobulated world, throwing up a guest rap verse in the middle of a James Murphy-produced song is par for the course, experimentation for the sake of experimentation and nothing more.

For a band that has prided itself on keeping things fresh, this sort of halfhearted progressive spirit is arguably worse than if the band had decided to just double down on “Zero.” At its best, Mosquito is exactly that original, exhilarating album that “Sacrilege” promised, lurking somewhere down past all the erratic genre exercises. It’s there when the Yeah Yeah Yeahs commit, either thematically (“These Paths,” “Subway”) or emotionally (“Wedding Song,” the latest in a long line of weepy, nakedly powerful stunners from the group). The problem is, in the chaotic world of Mosquito, commitment is hard to find; at its worst, the album is a caricature of the band’s frenetic live show, Karen O giving her all on a song about how mosquitos suck blood and giving us absolutely no reason to sing along. Luckily for fans of the group, Yeah Yeah Yeahs have had no problems in the past moving on to the next thing. Here’s hoping they spend a little time and decide how they want to get there first.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2013


50850 Comments


sad

Digging: Bobby Barnett - Little Wounds

demigod!
April 22nd 2013


45002 Comments


used to be a fan of these guys but they kinda lost me on blitz when it came out



Digging: Autechre - LP5

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 22nd 2013


23964 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

aww man, I disagree with so much of this, but I get where you're coming from

my friends and I all love this album. it brings the #YOLO

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

TooLateToGoBack
April 22nd 2013


1779 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

album was definitely disappointing :/

foxblood
April 22nd 2013


6797 Comments


will get to this eventually mostly because i like the art

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2013


10543 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i really wanted to like this but it's the definition of hit-or-miss

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

LilLioness
April 22nd 2013


2727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Eh, I would argue with your score, but I grade differently so I am pretty sure our feelings are just about the same despite the point disparity.

KangarooSong
April 22nd 2013


143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm halfway through my first listen and i think it's pretty solid stuff

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2013


17939 Comments


i just can't get past that cover

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2013


16785 Comments


Used to really enjoy this band's stuff...haven't had a chance to check this out yet though. Hope it doesn't disappoint : (

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

PistolPete
April 23rd 2013


3642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This really disappoints me, was looking forward to this. It's Blitz! was a step in the right direction and really the closest they ever got to consistency in an album in my opinion

Digging: Skyharbor - Guiding Lights

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2013


23964 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

klap you should de-capitalize the summary but leave the full-stop at the end

you'll rake in the cool points just like andcas

TheEnygma
April 23rd 2013


46 Comments


listen to "Despair", "Wedding Song" and "Sacrilege" and you're like dude this album's awesome. Listen to the rest and it's just kinda...eh

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2013


10543 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"Subway" is probs the best song here imo

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2013


6504 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"Subway" is probs the best song here imo

Yep.

It's Blitz! was a step in the right direction and really the closest they ever got to consistency in an album in my opinion

idk, man. Show Your Bones was pretty damn consistent as well. That's my fav YYY full-length.

Digging: Recondite - Iffy

DrHouseSchuldiner
April 23rd 2013


5643 Comments


Yeah

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2013


23964 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah

newjunk2
April 23rd 2013


232 Comments


I expected this to be so much better based on "Sacrilege".

LilLioness
April 23rd 2013


2727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think for me, "Subway" and "Sacrilege" were two of the tracks that actually repulsed me a bit. "Sacrilege" has some similar elements to their other singles (love "Gold Lion"), but it feels almost as hokey as "How Long" by HTDA.

RadicalEd
April 23rd 2013


2744 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Everything that needed to be said about this ablum, was said in this review. Excellent stuff.



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