Good press must be a complex little bitch. One minute you hope to be slow rockin’ the cute Williamsburg models, the next you somehow have the lips of those crazies at the Village Voice firmly attached to your ass.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs tied with the you-know-who’s in the category of “Most Overrated/ Overexposed Band” in Time Out New York’s informative and entertaining year-end poll. But if you keep your eyes on the New Yawk Rawk scene (and you know you do), there seems to be only glowing words of review regarding these three reluctant rock and roll vagabonds (who are gonna change the fuckin’ world, man!). But then, you can’t expect too much from a simple rock group. Hell, even the mighty Strokes seem to have settled into semi-celebrity with just a knowing wink because, y’know, it’s only rock and roll, but we like it.
So. What is it about these guys that has so many journalists creaming their retro Diesel’s? They haven’t even released a proper album yet. Oh, wait, I know. It’s how singer Karen O is, like, a sexy kick ass rock star, but then she’s, like, totally down to earth, dude! She’s awesome! And did you check out her untouchable fashion sense, which is carefully styled to look like she just rolled out of bed into her DIY wardrobe? I would so love to go shopping with her. Next stop Orchard Street, girlfriend! Wait, we were talking about Gwen Stefani, right?
But I digress. There’s not much to discuss here. The EP is an eight-minute teaser to allow us a glimpse into the world of the critically acclaimed while we wait, fingers crossed, for their debut album. The pressure has my nerves fried, man.
“Graveyard” starts alright, what with the fast, almost-punk guitars and stuff, but it quickly dissolves into monotonous rock drivel, recorded to sound like they were playing in someone’s top secret bunker yelling into an ancient analogue two-track. Karen’s voice is loud and distorted, as if that covers for the fact that you can’t understand any of the irrelevant twaddle she’s singing. Not that her mediocre vocal style is really worth the effort. But then, lo-fi always equals credibility, right?
“Machine” starts with annoying spoken lyrics which set the stage for a falsetto chorus (“Ma-shee-een!”) and standard two-chord garage-rock riffing, slowed down considerably. The third track, “Pin,” is some hyperactive exercise all about start-stop percussive guitar strikes a chorus that honestly sounds like “ba ba ba ba ba ba ba.” Then it’s all over, before you even have time to think about what you’re hearing. The only appropriate response is: “Why did someone see it fit to release this little turd onto an unsuspecting public?”
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs EP was slightly less pathetic than this marketing blunder. “Bang” had some kind of edge to it, ruined by desperately ironic lyrics about one way sex: “So I take a swallow/ And I spit/ Baby.” “Art Star” dragged, reminding me of work by the same trendy scenesters it so appropriately insults. And what were they thinking on “Our Time?” I’m sure they’ve had offers to put that one in a high school drama, maybe just before the closing credits when everyone is hugging and talking about what they’ll do after graduation. I was not moved by those first fifteen minutes of Karen O, but they were a good bit better than this new pile of rank shit. Everyone, you are forewarned: don’t buy this CD. I sure as hell didn’t.