20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Yeasayer’s Odd Blood by JohnCassillo

Yeasayer's Odd Blood succeeds amidst a bevy of experimentation

PREVIEW: VISIT Yeasayer’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Honest and eccentric, Yeasayer‘s sophomore effort, Odd Blood, dips and dives through a bevy of emotions throughout its 10 tracks. It’s an imposing blend of experimental pop and psychedelic rock, unrelenting as its large collection of sounds caterwaul every which way. However, the album still maintains a loose organization– never dropping its direction or focus as it explores love’s post-mortem with strikingly upbeat results.

The crux of this positive outlook on an otherwise negative situation lies first in the singles, “Ambling Alp” and “O.N.E.” Drawing comparisons to the likes of TV on the Radio, the former bounces along crazed keyboards, lead singer Chris Keating’s occasional falsetto and interspersed horns. It’s a wild, stark bonanza, spinning within the loose confines of the track’s experimental nature. The ladder, on the other hand, while maintaining the same carefree vibe, employs a much more wacky approach. As Keating laments falling out of love, one cannot help but become enamored by the colorful and active background that functions very much as the lyrics’ antithesis.

The emotional rollercoaster doesn’t end there either. Tracks like “I Remember” and “Love Me Girl” continuing harping on what was, all while fighting against the underlying electronic excitement. When not recalling lost love, the band uses the album’s space just as constructively, testing the limits of their pop and world sounds collaboration. These moments can, at times, be Odd Blood‘s most thrilling. From the Mid-Eastern influenced “Strange Reunions,” to the funky, haunting sounds of “Mondegreen,” one is never too sure as to what may come next.

When it’s all over, Odd Blood ends up being an effort mostly about exploration. Be it with the depths of their emotional states, or the diversity of experimentation they could embark upon, Yeasayer tests their limits in all the right ways. In the shroud of recent “unique” indie music, the band has managed to set themselves apart with a collection that truly does differentiate itself from the pack. It dances, it sings, and at moments, lets you think a bit, too. Odd Blood‘s humble exuberance will surely garner applause from Yeasayer fans, both new and old.

-John Cassillo

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