You have to love Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Sure, I guess not everyone will love their Eardrum smashing blend of Post-Punk clatter Pop but you have to respect a band who dived into the mainstream wearing fuchsia mesh vests and sporting Eraserhead haircuts at a time when if you weren't wearing ripped Jeans, black Converse and your Dad's dinner Jacket you had no chance of making it in the world of Indie rock.
But some how they did and here we are 3 years on, holding a copy of their latest offering 'Show Your Bones' in our grubby hands. But let's just have a quick reality check here. This is Yeah Yeah Yeahs second album, the follow-up to the fantasic debut 'Fever To Tell', Frontwoman Karen O went though 2 break ups whlist making the record and a rumored 70 songs were scrapped. Plus did I tell you it was their second album? You know how many bands have slipped up on their second release? Well let me remind you of the commerical downfall of The Strokes thanks to their second offering 'Room On Fire', the mental breakdown of Vines frontman Craig Nicholls partly due to the negative media feedback of their last record 'Winning Days'. Second album syndrome was so damaging to UK baggy Rock icons The Stone Roses that the band fell apart completely (thank god) after the release of their long delayed 'The Second Coming' album. So don't worry Yeah Yeah Yeahs there's nothing at all to worry about.
Karen O - Vocals
Nick Zinner - Guitar/Keyboard
Brian Chase - Drums
Too often in music the term 'Different direction' means that a band have gone out and discovered World Music (Blur), Prog (The Strokes), the Marimba (Jack White) or what ever mad ideas creep into their heads whlist the drugs are kicking in. 'Show Your Bones' is a very different album. Well, for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs it is. But don't fear, 'Show Your Bones' is not an experimental 70 minute long concept album about life on Supernovas. It's a 39 minute long dizzy mix of raw passion and outstanding beauty. The band have shaken free out of their Art Punk pigeonhole and are starting to show what they really are capable of.
A tribal drum beat (similar to that of 'We Will Rock You') opens up the record and before you know it your thrown into a musical tornado of ballsy Vocals and stoner Guitars. And as for lyrics, if you thought the line ''I got a date with the night''
was weird you need to listen to 'Gold Lion' (''Gold lion's gonna tell me where the light is/Take our hands out of control''
). What it means I do not know but one thing is clear, 'Gold Lion' is one belter of a song, it swells up before exploding all over the place in it's Nirvana meets Siouxsie and The Banshees glory.
Up next is the acoustic Guitar flavored 'Way Out'. A more mellow track compared to 'Gold Lion'. Even though it boosts some impressive lyrics and vocal work from Karen O, 'Way Out' is too weak, powerless if you may. It bobs along with no real meaning or intention apart the odd loud Guitar freakout delivered to us by one Mr Zinner, who really shows a love of the volume switch on 'Show Your Bones'. For example, on 'Phenomena' Zinner's steal-strong riffing goes hand in hand with Karen O's snappy vocals. Especially at the song's highpoint when Karen O tells us not to ''Fall asleep with the motor on, she'll make you sweat in the water''
whlist Zinner sounds like he's playing 14 Guitars at once through every effects pedal they had in the music store.
'Honeybear' is run of the oldest songs on the album. First played on the band's 2004 American tour. It could be this album's cult floorfiller but instead is ruined by the fact that it's over done. It rarely sticks to a blueprint and changes several times from Diana Ross on LSD-style Disco to charging Joan Jett style Country Pop. Leaving you feeling confused and at times a little agitated, even more so when you remember that this band could once satisfy their fans by playing clattering Art Punk that rarely pushed the 2 minute boarderline. Now everythings a little more complicated and complex. Leaving you wondering if the band are trying too hard or if you're just been too fussy.
Thankfully 'Cheated Hearts' saves the day. Sounding like a remorseful KT Tunstall playing with a heartbroken Franz Ferdinand. It's a song with beauty to rival that of 'Maps' and features some of Karen's best vocal work to date, full of passion and raw emotion (''Cheated by the opposite of love/Sometimes I think that am bigger than the sound''
). 'Cheated Hearts' is the track showing that all the emotion Karen O showed whlist mumbling the line ''Wait, they don't love you like I love you''
all those years ago haven't gone away, in fact there clearier and more powerful than ever before.
Up next are two of the album's best moment. The bittersweet and moving 'Dudley' and the powerful, banging and punky 'Mysteries'. The latter showing off the raw power seen on 'Fever To Tell' whlist keeping the emotion of 'Show Your Bones' (''I don't even know what it's like to go back to you''
). But it's 'Dudley' that really gets my vote. Possibly the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' best track to date ('Y Control' been a very close 2nd). It sums up the record perfectly. Beautiful, emotional and confused at heart.
Sadly after this the album take a downhill nose dive that ruins the course of it's 2nd half. The 3 final tracks 'Sweets', 'Warrior' and 'Turn Into' are all slow-burning acoustic Guitar centred tracks similar to 'Way Out'. These songs shows a band who aren't terrible or scrapping the barrel for ideas - but a band that are just pushing themselfs too far too soon. 'Show Your Bones' sounds like it could be the Yeah Yeah Yeahs fourth album, not the follow up to a heavily Punk influenced debut.
But their is good news after all this. Even though they've created a record which may isolate some old hardcore fans, at the same time 'Show Your Bones' has all Pop-principals to take the band to the next step, to the top of the charts. So sit back and enjoy the ride whlist we wait for 2009's Prog Rock influenced, Spainish spoken concept album about the life of New York Bus driver.
Thanks For Reading! - Senor Whippy (The Man who first introduced Arctic Monkeys to Sputnikmusic)