yeahyeahyeahs

It takes about 30 seconds of opener ‘Sacrilege’ for the electronic oscillations of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ last album – ‘It’s Blitz’ (2009) – to seem like a dream. ‘Mosquito’ – with Nick Zinner back on guitar rather than keyboards – initially feels like ‘Show Your Bones’ part II, and that impression doesn’t change right up until the closing ‘Wedding Song’ – a slow, beautiful ballad that has become so natural to a group that effortlessly jumps from the deranged to the poignant over any number of songs.

Effortlessness is, perhaps as it always has been with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the fuel and power of this fourth album, which started life as a collection of lo-fi, reverb-drenched demos long before it was polished and glossed as it has been. There are some big name producers involved here (namely Dave Sitek, Nick Launay and James Murphy), but while its fidelity is quite astonishing, with some neat tricks like ‘Sacrilege’’s aggressive gospel choir and the percussive, slumping train track clack of ‘Subway’, it’s the band, and of course Karen O, who makes it all possible. O sounds no less a star now than she did a decade ago, sweet and impish on ‘Subway’ and  ‘Despair’ (itself something like ‘Mosquito’’s own ‘Cheated Hearts’), and eye-popping and trampishly puckering up on the album’s title track. “He’ll suck your blood!” she yells and pants like she did on the band’s debut.

Perhaps it’s due to the lifetimes between albums (especially as ‘Show Your Bones’ was released in 2006), but it never feels like Yeah Yeah Yeahs are flogging us old stock, more that they’ve stealthily become a band with a classic sound. Just in case, though, ‘Buried Alive’ features Kool Keith for something completely different.

Read all of our new album reviews here, in Loud And Quiet 47, out now

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