Review Summary: Spouse it's the right time?
Every once in a while (if you’re serious about your music) you will stumble across an artist that speaks volumes to you not only through the vibe their music gives off but by the astoundingly accurate insight their lyrics seem to provide you. Yeasayer has done this consecutively for me since their 2007 release All Hour Cymbals
, again with the critically acclaimed 2010 release Odd Blood
and now they have done it with the 2012 release Fragrant World
doesn’t pick up where Odd Blood
left off nor does it attempt to fully revisit the organics of All Hour Cymbals
, instead it is the perfect marriage of their past releases, and albeit a small one, it offers a glimpse into their possible future musical direction. They have managed to borrow heavily from the raw feeling of All Hour Cymbals
and masterfully blend the glazed pop nature of Odd Blood
so well that it is almost unbearably consistent at first but upon engaging one’s self into the atmosphere being built throughout album it becomes utterly clear that Yeasayer have just begun to shape their sound.
Songs like "Blue Paper" and "Damaged Goods" will almost certainly remind you of the funky pop singles off Odd Blood
while songs like "Reagan’s Skeleton" and "Glass of the Microscope" will leave you reminiscing of the unique melodies and the trance inducing layers of All Hour Cymbals
. Yeasayer have successfully cultivated new sounds within the Psych-Pop genre that will probably not be fully appreciated due to the subtle nuances of the experimentation offered on Fragrant World
. Take "No Bones" for example, slap in the middle of the album is hidden the brightest gem for me. The song has a heavy hip hop vibe to it, so much so that when the hook comes in I immediately think of how perfect the song would be with an MC like NAS or Jay-Z adding a view bars to it and rapping over the hook or "Folk Hero Schtick" whose opening seconds make you think that Yeasayer has finally dropped the synths and beat box drum sounds only to morph in the blink of an eye into a Gorillaz Plastic Beach
B side you never heard before.
If Fragrant World
has accomplished anything it is this, to further expand on the sounds Yeasayer have built until now and to casually experiment with said foundation enough to show they are looking for new outlets. I wouldn’t say it seems like they are struggling with, or even meandering in, their progression but they are definitely feeling out new directions, almost like reaching for a light switch in the dark of a room you know perfectly expect when you turn the light on it’s not the room you expected.
Is it an “Album of the Year” competitor….. probably not. Is it a total let down" Not by any means! All that being said the album flows very nicely from song to song. I am a little disappointed that there was not a title track “seeing as they usually tend to be amongst my favorites” but they have managed to propagate new sounds all the while embracing what has gotten them to the proverbial “here”. Fragrant World
manages to stay fun and upbeat music wise even while the lyrics dive into some pretty dark areas which is a refreshing break from the mono toned idea that if your music sounds happy you should sing about something happy.
All together Fragrant World
offers a nice escape into the minds of some very eccentric tastes within the electro music world done in a manner that seems to refuse to alienate it’s listeners and they will probably take some slack for that (not experimenting enough, not alienating their audience) but to me it’s an exercise in what they are familiar with and a glimpse into what they hope to accomplish and almost certainly worth a listen if you fancy yourself an electronic music lover.
Yeasayer is releasing Fragrant World
with their current label Secretly Canadian on August 20th in the UK and August 21st in the US. The album was recorded at Gary's Electric Studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and produced by Yeasayer.