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Yeasayer - Odd Blood Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9.25
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 8.5
Production 9
Creativity 9.25
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 88%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.75
Musicianship 7.88
Lyrics 7.63
Production 7.92
Creativity 8.04
Lasting Value 7.79
Reviewer Tilt 8.17
Average: 79%
Inside AP.net

Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (02/11/10)
Yeasayer - Odd Blood
Record Label: Secretly Canadian
Release Date: February 9, 2010

In following up their much blogged-about debut All Hour Cymbals, a complex affair that combined enigmatic Eastern sounds with more organic textures and melodies, Yeasayer have done the unthinkable. They've written a set of songs that are intricate but undeniably accentuate their pop side, and they've made the decidedly gauche move of stuffing them with a rare quantity in their form of art: genuine human emotion. Despite how synthetic Odd Blood can occasionally feel, it sets itself apart from its peers by never letting you forget that it's the work of honest-to-goodness, flesh-and-blood people and not just some computerized, Williamsburg-pleasing music machine.

The album does stumble out of the gate a little bit with "The Children", which throws robotic voice effects over buzzing synthesizer and some steely percussion, which offers a flavor of their debut's avant-pop. It comes off as a stuffy way to open an album for a band that's characteristically so vibrant. Fortunately, after the false start, Yeasayer find the cruise-control button and promptly engage it.

"Ambling Alp" kicks off a dynamite song sequence that takes us on a ride exploring a broad range of styles and emotions. The album's first single, it opens with the earthy sounds of rippling water, and when combined with sampled sounds and squiggly electronic textures, it has a feel that's comparable to Animal Collective, but Yeasayer are much more focused on delivering crisp pop hooks. "Madder Red" addresses the strains that a life on the road can have on relationships, with the lyrics, "I know that home is where you want me. There's not much for me there. I never gave a thought to another living." Musically, it's anchored down by a heavy bass drumbeat and a harmonized wordless chant, which give the song the feel of a tribal Depeche Mode. The slick and deceptively simple melodic structure give it an incredibly addictive quality and unquestionable single potential.

"I Remember" utilizes more Animal Collective-like post-modern arrangements, but they play second-fiddle to Chris Keating's gut-wrenching vocal performance. The lyrics read more like Dashboard Confessional than anything you'd expect from a stylish Brooklyn band. "I remember making love on a Sunday, like throwing hearts in a fresh-cut grass in May. I remember making out on an airplane," sings a wistfully nostalgic Keating, and it's downright crushing to hear him profess, "You're stuck in my mind all the time." The pace quickens with the easily danceable "O.N.E.", which adds some rhythmic Caribbean flair to a left-field Prince-sounding tune, and "Love Me Girl" maintains the energy, with its straight-ahead techno-dance feel punctuated with funky start-stop segments.

"Rome" continues in the uptempo vein of the two preceding songs, but it lacks the same punch. The repetitive melody wears thin rather quickly, and Keating's vocals revert back to the yelping of All Hour Cymbals, which gave that album some of its quirky appeal, but sound a little disappointing after the robust performances he delivers on this album. Contrastingly, "Strange Reunions" has a vibe somewhere between the sonic experimentation of The Flaming Lips' Embryonic and the shambling trippiness of pre-Strawberry Jam Animal Collective. It's about as non-pop-friendly as you'll find Yeasayer on Odd Blood.

"Mondegreen" makes heavy use of horns and handclaps, and attempts to be fun, but goes a little over the top, with Keating going on about "me and my baby making love 'til the morning light." "Grizelda" carries the album to a lively end, but feels a bit like a half-realized idea for a song, included to bring the album up to ten tracks. Despite it's few low points, Odd Blood more than makes up for it with an almost unbelievable run from the second through sixth tracks. The album loses some of the sense of mystery and intrigue that All Hour Cymbals had, but in its place is a sharper focus on strong, grasping hooks and earnest, poignant songwriting. Perhaps best of all, the album has the feel of a stopping-off point of sorts for a band on an evolutionary path, headed toward an even higher level of greatness.

Track Listing1. The Children (3:14)
2. Ambling Alp (3:57)
3. Madder Red (4:05)
4. I Remember (4:25)
5. O.N.E. (5:25)
6. Love Me Girl (5:02)
7. Rome (3:50)
8. Strange Reunions (2:37)
9. Mondegreen (4:39)
10. Grizelda (2:40)


LinksCheck out Yeasayer on Myspace and last.fm.
Preview/Buy the album at Amazon MP3
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 39
08:53 PM on 02/11/10
#2
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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i feel like i would go into a coma if i stared at the art for too long
09:51 PM on 02/11/10
#3
owiseone35
You need human heat
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February 2010!!! Not 2009 ha. Happens to me all the time.
10:06 PM on 02/11/10
#4
hockeyguitar99
Prison Strength
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Love it.
10:42 PM on 02/11/10
#5
i2ockbotm
38
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Pretty spot on review. I thought the same thing to myself about how amazingly legit tracks 2-6 are (actually, I enjoy how the vocalist slides and wavers his notes in track 1, but that damn robotic effect adds no value) listening to the album in my car. It's a shame the last 4 tracks on the album aren't really up to the same standard of all those preceding it
12:39 AM on 02/12/10
#6
Argentine
When I die, rap dies; Destiny Bond.
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So is this the Merriweather Post Pavilion of 2010?
03:42 AM on 02/12/10
#7
mercy123
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good album
05:46 AM on 02/12/10
#8
Jeremy Aaron
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February 2010!!! Not 2009 ha. Happens to me all the time.
That's excusable in January. I shouldn't still be doing that. Fixed anyway.
05:51 AM on 02/12/10
#9
Jeremy Aaron
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So is this the Merriweather Post Pavilion of 2010?
I wouldn't say that at all, but that's because I don't particularly care for that album (or Strawberry Jam for that matter). To me, it seems like their approach has been to toss a bunch of random stuff together and stir, and while that might work if you're making a soup, the music comes out sounding kind of directionless. This album has some "experimental" touches, but it ultimately sounds like something an average joe off the street would consider music. I can't really say that about MPP, which I don't deem to be far-removed from AIDS Wolf and the like (i.e. pretty much just white noise).
06:11 AM on 02/12/10
IamTheINDUSTRY
glory glory
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I wouldn't say that at all, but that's because I don't particularly care for that album (or Strawberry Jam for that matter). To me, it seems like their approach has been to toss a bunch of random stuff together and stir, and while that might work if you're making a soup, the music comes out sounding kind of directionless. This album has some "experimental" touches, but it ultimately sounds like something an average joe off the street would consider music. I can't really say that about MPP, which I don't deem to be far-removed from AIDS Wolf and the like (i.e. pretty much just white noise).

Everyones entitled to their opinion but "my girls" is white noise?! One of the best pop tunes of the last decade.
06:25 AM on 02/12/10
mcquizzle
mighty kites !!!
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completely agree with this review.
07:01 AM on 02/12/10
Jeremy Aaron
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Everyones entitled to their opinion but "my girls" is white noise?! One of the best pop tunes of the last decade.
I know a lot of people like it, and figured my comment would probably generate some response, but the whole texture of that song and much of their recent music makes my skin crawl like nails on a chalkboard. I really like their earlier recordings, especially Sung Tongs, but it just feels like they go out of their way to sound grating now.
07:19 AM on 02/12/10
Travis Parno
my sensible heart
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I wouldn't say that at all, but that's because I don't particularly care for that album (or Strawberry Jam for that matter). To me, it seems like their approach has been to toss a bunch of random stuff together and stir, and while that might work if you're making a soup, the music comes out sounding kind of directionless. This album has some "experimental" touches, but it ultimately sounds like something an average joe off the street would consider music. I can't really say that about MPP, which I don't deem to be far-removed from AIDS Wolf and the like (i.e. pretty much just white noise).
i'll have to respectfully call you insane for this one, but hey, i guess it's not for everyone

haven't checked out Odd Blood yet, but i will based on the review, good stuff
07:30 AM on 02/12/10
Memphis
Eight miles high and falling fast
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why have you been leaving out "RIYL" lately? I sort of miss it...
07:49 AM on 02/12/10
Jeremy Aaron
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why have you been leaving out "RIYL" lately? I sort of miss it...
I've been including them in reviews for "lesser known" bands, but people always focus on it more than the actual review and overanalyze and nitpick at it. This album especially is kind of all-over-the-place, so it's really tough to reduce its sound to a few bands/albums in any meaningful way. But I'd say it sounds like what The Flaming Lips would sound like if they were trying to write instantly accessible songs, combined with the occasional angular danceability of Talking Heads, a little standard '80s New Wave/Sophistipop, and trace amounts of the Grizzly Bear-like organic-ness of their last album. But I think it's worth listening to regardless of what you like.
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