Karen O seems to be having a good year, at least on record. This spring’s It’s Blitz! found the Yeah Yeah Yeahs trying on all sorts of new sounds and wearing them well. Now comes a collection of songs composed for the soundtrack to Where The Wild Things Are, credited to Karen O And The Kids, an expansive ad hoc band featuring O’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs bandmates and assorted musicians drawn from Liars, The Raconteurs, and other acts. How the music will work within the context of Dave Eggers’ and Spike Jonze’s film adaptation remains to be seen, and it isn’t always fair to judge film music apart from the film that inspired it. But even with images out of the equation, Where The Wild Things Are sounds like a satisfying side project from a singer and songwriter eager to stretch out a bit.
Abandoning her tendency toward loudness, O here mixes contemplative instrumentals, sing-alongs like “Heads Up” and the children’s choir-equipped “All Is Love,” and one lovely ballad called “Hideaway.” Though the tracks sound like they’re tied to another project, most could stand on their own. Either way, it sounds like a pleasant diversion from the norm at a time when O and her collaborators seem happy to move away from what listeners have come to expect.