Monday, 23 March 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz (Polydor 2009)

Much has been made of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' guitarless return, and 'Zero' weighs in with some cheesy 80s candy synths reminiscent of Frazn Ferdinand's 'Do You Want To' which always reminds me of a Way Out West song, but at the epicentre of the erupting synths is that familiar sneer, yelp, wail and abandoned vocal scree... yes, Karen O- she makes it all worthwhile and she's our tangible Yeah Yeah Yeahs recognisable factor that leads us into Yeah Yeah Yeahs mach 2.0, guitarless, and when 'Heads Will Roll' kicks in with 'Dance Till You're Dead/Off With Your Head's macabre threat, you're with them and what emerges is not Nick Zinner, the amazing spidery punk guitarist, but Nick Zinner, the composer, able to juxtapose Karen O's wild vocals with some powerful candy synths all fluffy and light and yet full of the same intensity that makes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs so durable and electric in whatever they do.

'Soft Shock' returns to the emotive song-based territory of 'Show Your Bones' with the fuzzy synths soundtracking a verse-willing Karen, so beautiful and willful with her childlike bursts of love and electricity falling in love. Here the backwards guitar emerges and you realise that they haven't gone away, they've just been integrated with a fuller sound for the greater good, for the good of an evolving band willing to add to their canon and not afraid to mutate and evolve that which made them so good. 'Skeletons' is a love ballad to match 'Maps' with its gorgeous soft almost-spoken heartbreak and soaring chorus. The synths are somewhere between Madonna and Suicide and in the excessive emptiness of the middle of the songs lies Karen's voice, so beautiful, whispering and crooning 'Skeleton me' breaking your heart. 'Shame and Fortune' is like a Suicide remix of 'Rockers to Swallow' all ticks and stop-starts and fuzzy rumbling basses as the shrieks build over pulsing guitars that eventually erupt. 'Little Shadow' has a church feeling to it, and is most like Karen O's North Korea Rock acoustic band, delicate and reverential all at once. Yeah Yeah Yeahs are firing on all cylinders, pulling out all the stops, pushing their songwriting forward more and more evolving at a larger rate than any of their contemporaries, making their sound so distinctive. It'll be a versatile live show with the thunder and fuzz of 'Fever to Tell', countrified ballad yelp of 'Show Your Bones' and disco-motions of 'It's Blitz.' They're still dirty, sensuous, scuzzy, cool and filled with the bile and bluster of swallowing rockers whole, all with the spirit of the party reigning in their limbs flailing about in the disco lights. 'It's Blitz' is a blitzkreig of bliss and brilliance. Bravo.


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