Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Remember when everyone was worried about the apocalypse? Yeasayer’s debut, All Hour Cymbals, teemed with that post-millennial paranoia, layered with inscrutable lyrics about environmental collapse, creeping sickness, and urban claustrophobia that were mirrored in the band’s steamy, tangled mix of Middle Eastern mysticism, art-school-kids-on-’shrooms psychedelia, and Peter Gabriel-inspired prog-wave. But Odd Blood sees Yeasayer emerging from its survivalist self-exile and looking at things in a whole new light—one less jungley and azure, and more neon pink. The breakthrough single, “2080,” found singer Chris Keating unable to “sleep when I think about the world we’re living in,” but he has an answer in Odd Blood’s “Love Me Girl”: “Stay up and play with me.” Problem (temporarily) solved!


Other than the misdirection of the foreboding opener “The Children” (all lurching industrial clangor and creepy, pitch-shifted vocals borrowed from The Knife), Odd Blood boldly pins hearts to sleeves, swimming unabashedly in splashy, New Romantic synth-pop, singing songs about “me and my baby making love ’til the morning light” (“Mondegreen”), and channeling the falsetto-prone, dewy-eyed souls of ’80s bands like Erasure and post-John Hughes Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. “Ambling Alp,” with its reggae-derived springiness and encouragements to “stick up for yourself, son,” has a Disney-ready cheeriness, like a “Bare Necessities” for disaffected Brooklynites; the cascading keyboards and sentimental sighs of “I Remember” seem predestined to soundtrack a zillion high-school slow dances; and “O.N.E.” takes its post-breakup depression for a frolic at the beach. But outside of some gratingly simplistic lyrics, it’s all light without being lightweight: Odd Blood is every bit as dense as its predecessor, with every inch of space teeming with exhausting polyrhythmic detail and time-warped synth sounds. Yeasayer is still adept at filtering primal emotions through the complex circuits of the future; it’s just that that future looks a lot brighter than it used to.

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