Yeasayer | Odd Blood

Secretly Canadian (2010)
By JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  February 9, 2010
2.0 2.0 Stars


Yeasayer have created a decadent, densely produced mess of a second album. Like other bands trying to do art rock in 2010, they confront us with the irony that their world of genre-melding futurism (a/k/a Brooklyn) can sound dated from the moment you get off the plane. This aside, Odd Blood is a sprawling trip through Yeasayer's uniquely rhythmic takes on rock and roll, art rock, R&B, electronic, and dance pop.

They certainly know how to build big tracks in the studio. "Mondegreen" toys with rock and roll in a Creature Cantina–esque jump style; "O.N.E." aims directly for the heart of the indie dance floor. Not far behind the latter is its darker counterpart, the Depeche Mode–flavored "Love Me Girl."

Whether or not Yeasayer make these songs too complicated for their own good depends on what it takes to get (and keep) you dancing. They want to keep things busy with unabashed digital gluttony (with results that can border on video-game show tunes), so their pretty melodies sometimes get lost in pitchy, processed falsetto vocals and chewy, clunky keyboard voicings. It's all meant to sound fresh, but it doesn't always sound good. Opener "The Children" is so ugly, with its half-speed turgid vocals and pots and pans and gurgling water, that the album almost capsizes before it can set sail. Yeasayer certainly do something different, but who wants to live in their world?

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