“Live in the moment/Never count on longevity,” warns Yeasayer frontman Chris Keating on “Longevity”, an R&B-tinged single from his Brooklyn band’s third studio album. Though he probably has a different subject in mind, the phrase also sums up the group’s approach to making music: forget the past, have fun screwing around with whatever intrigues you at the time, and to hell with the consequences. It worked brilliantly on the trio’s 2010 album Odd Blood, where they played around with strange electronic sounds and indulged their love of big, glossy choruses, resulting in some incredible dance songs. (Look up “O.N.E.” on YouTube and I guarantee you’ll be bouncing around your living room like a freak.) Unfortunately, they’re now into writing turgid tunes that elevate flashy production techniques over melody — and with the exception of two or three tracks (e.g. “Henrietta”, “Reagan’s Skeleton”), it’s a slog to listen to. Forty-nine minutes is not an especially long running time for an album, but it can feel endless when you’re buried under layers of synths and heavily processed vocals, with no hooks to orient you in the music.
Review appears in the current issue of prairie dog magazine.