Review ·

It takes only 20 seconds of “Ambling Alp” to figure out what the members of Yeasayer were doing in the time off between their sophomore album, Odd Blood, and their 2007 debut, All Hour Cymbals: Dudes clearly fell in love with dance music. It’s probably an unfortunate time for that to happen, since now it’ll be impossible for Yeasayer to shake all those Animal Collective Jr. jokes. With Odd Blood, they’ve embraced the same dance-music-loving pan-popism that made Animal Collective your sister’s favorite band for a month last year. That’s not to say Odd Blood doesn’t have its share of surprises, but this probably isn’t what anyone had in mind coming out of All Hour Cymbals.

 

“Ambling Alp” is the set’s first real song (it’s preceded by a three-minute slog of noise work called “The Children”) and Yeasayer’s first festival-ready crowd pleaser. It trades in the same kind of smiley optimism as MGMT and flaunts more sloganeering than you can shake a cassingle of “Right Now” at (“Stick up for your self son/ Never mind what anyone else does,” goes the chorus). But what it lacks in thematic depth, it makes up for in resolve. It’s the track here that becomes hard to shake from your frontal lobe. The same kind of shininess picks back up on “O.N.E.,” a sometimes discordant track that twists in on itself repeatedly, launching between tribal beats, noise sketches, and Lion King soundtrack outtakes.

 

Odd Blood doesn’t find its legs until the pseudo-ballads that fill a third of the album. “Madder Red,” led by Anand Wilder’s mourning wail, is the best of these. The track’s hazy, serrating guitar riff recalls the band’s best (particularly “Wait for the Wintertime”). The Chris Keating-led “I Remember” is the most lighter-use-ready; its cascading instrumentation suggests it was written with the ending of a weepy movie in mind (it’d probably work well with Avatar).

 

Throughout its padded 40-minute run time (like All Hour Cymbals, it’s got a decent amount of filler), Odd Blood makes a stronger case for what’s up next for the band’s sound than where it is now. The mish-mash of their earlier doom-ridden tribalism and ‘80s synth-dance can provide for tracks that are good (“Ambling Alp”) as easy at it can for tracks that are less so (“Love Me Girl”). Think of Odd Blood as more a mission statement than a breakthrough moment.

 

***

Band: http://www.amblingalp.com

Label: http://www.secretelycanadian.com

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/yeasayer

  • The Children
  • Ambling Alp
  • Madder Red
  • I Remember
  • ONE
  • Love Me Girl
  • Rome
  • Strange Reunions
  • Mondegreen

To create Odd Blood, Yeasayer holed themselves up in the hills of Woodstock, NY, before putting the final touches on the album in New York City. Those are certainly fitting locations for a band that often moves so deftly between middle-of-nowhere experimentation and the sharp melodies of city streets. With the band promising another thickly layered set of quirky pop, and their new home at ever-consistent Secretly Canadian label, this follow up to the excellent All Hour Cymbals comes with no shortage of anticipation.

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Love this record. Think it's gonna be huge despite the leak.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

Took me a few listens, but I've come around to this one. I'm with Daba, I think it's going to be a big one. So let's steel ourselves for a backlash around June or so.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mfiander/profile.jpg mfiander

Yeah, this one might be the MGMT of 2010. I don't think this will catch serious fire until this summer though. Once they hit the festival circuit, it'll be huge.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

yep. i was thinking the next mgmt, grizzly bear, vampire weekend, etc...

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

yeah it's gonna be huge. deservedly so, i might add...

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

I don't know, maybe I'll feel this more later. But I've damn near worn out my MP3s, and I can't shake the feeling that this is a pronounced step down from their last one.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

I like what I've heard from Yeasayer before, but I'm yet to hear this one...I guess I should considering how most are loving it.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

Based on the two free singles I got from their website, I purchased this album without previewing it first (for $3.99 on sale at Amazon, small risk). I don't regret the purchase at all.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/kwaping/hoodie_hat_headphones.jpg kwaping

I think I still prefer All Hour Cymbals, but this is pretty awesome to me, particularly because I don't usually get down with this kind of synth-heavy noodling.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mfiander/profile.jpg mfiander

Nice review Andrew. As much as I hate to say it, this just isn't a great record. After song 5, there is little to no replay value. "madder red' is special though.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/breidy/Koko B. Ware.jpg breidy

Thanks man. It hurt me too. I had such high hopes for this.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

quality listening

/site_media/uploads/images/users/dukkookim/6460_1130716601218_1626340558_309884_1280450_njpg.jpg dukkookim

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