Review // Yeasayer – Odd Blood

From the breeding grounds of Brooklyn, home to fellow art-rock bands Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective, comes the second album from genre-chameleons Yeasayer, whose debut record All Hour Cymbals passed largely unnoticed in 2007. It is almost certain however that second effort Odd Blood will not share the same fate. Whereas their debut was a spectacular, if a little inaccessible, mixture of world music and chanting vocals, Yeasayer have blown away the mist from this new record to reveal an unrecognisable poppier sound.

Lead single ‘Ambling Alp’ is a perfect example of the band’s faultless transition into the world of experimental progressive pop. It opens with otherworldly samples which create visions of a prehistoric morning chorus, before breaking into an irresistible 80’s style tune that Peter Gabriel would be proud of. Buried amongst the infinite synths, keyboard loops and bizarre animal noises Yeasayer also show a talent for a good melody, as seen in sweeping electronic ballads ‘Madder Red’ and the particularly beautiful ‘I Remember’. But it is the pure unpredictability of this record that is it’s great strength. ‘Love Me Girl’ opens like a call to arms chanted by Medieval monks before plunging into what sounds like a more intelligent Justin Timberlake channelled through MGMT; whilst tracks such as ‘Mondegreen’ and ‘Rome’ hide primal rock and roll in their many layers.

No where else will you find a record that is so experimental without being over-indulgent, which is delightfully accessible and has choruses that sound like peyote-induced campfire anthems that wouldn’t sound out of place being sung into the bathroom mirror. Odd Blood is fundamentally a pop album that is unlikely to make even a ripple in the charts, but it is obvious this was never Yeasayer’s intention. The album’s more mainstream sound may simply be another experiment to the band, but at the same time its a wonderful album well worth your time, certainly affirming Yeasayer as a band to watch in the new decade.