Saturday, April 11, 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have blown my mind

In other words, "It's Blitz!" is incredibly good, much better than I would have ever expected. Before this album, I'd pigeonholed them as the prototype three star band, you know, a band that you can count on for five or six great songs per album (including a couple of absolute scorchers that ensure you'll stay faithful to them for the next couple of albums at least), plus some filler that will round out the album, style-wise. Rank that album at 3/5 stars, not great but certainly solid.

This album has been acclaimed as a drastic departure from the sound of the first two YYY's albums, but really it's just natural evolution for the band, provided you assume that they were meant to evolve along the same path as Blondie (and it makes perfect sense, doesn't it?) That means we're entering the "Autoamerican" era, as shown by the outstanding one-two opening punch of "Zero" and "Heads Will Roll". But they haven't just taken the same old gutterpunk numbers and disco-fied them, they've also become a great ballads band, and no, I don't mean mid-tempo rockers like "Maps" or tongue-in-cheek efforts like "Modern Romance", I mean real, gutwrenching power ballad tracks. "Runaway" is fine, albeit a bit cloying and OTT, but "Skeletons", "Little Shadow", and "Hysteric" are flawless, with a screen composer's sense of dramatic build and sweet release.

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