YEAH YEAH YEAHS
Of all the New York bands that got their start in the early aughts (The Strokes, Interpol, TV on the Radio), the Yeah Yeah Yeahs stood out. Karen O was the ultimate rock and roll frontwoman: visually striking, emotive and totally original. Along with band mates Nick Zinner and Brian Chase, the trio was hell bent on pushing rock and roll somewhere new rather than exploring where it had already been.
On their fourth record, we hear flashes of their former selves (the taut dance beats of It’s Blitz and raucous anthems of Fever to Tell), but they’ve gone in a more ambient direction this time. The eerie minimalism on “Subway” sounds more like a movie soundtrack than a rock song. Aside from “Sacrilege”, with its gospel-choir climax, the album comes across as bloodless. There’s imagination here, but the songs don’t always connect on a visceral, gut level.
The YYY’s recently released a video for “Despair” and it’s kind of lovely – especially the ending where Karen O dances giddily on top of the Empire State Building as the sun comes up over Manhattan. Makes me want to go back to NYC as soon as possible.