With some mixed feelings about the band's latest album's artwork featuring some silly animated baby, it is with great relief and a knowing smile that The Yeah Yeah Yeahs's "Mosquito" is not only good, but also possibly their best. They are consistent like that, but you know that already. The panic was for nothing.
The lead singer Karen O admitted earlier this year that she was less interested in writing, singing, or making a "hit" and so has stopped trying. That is clear on the album, it feels oh-so natural and wholly unused. The album is highly concept driven, combined with is-that-reggae, nutty sounds, odd clangs, some choirs and then the excoriation of the lead singer's voice that pulls your headphones - so much closer to your ears.
The first track, "Sacrilege," featuring baby-faced redhead alien Lily Cole in the music video, allows Karen O to lower her shrieks but still yelp her call to the wild. Tracks such as "Under The Earth" have lyrics ("Down down under the earth goes another lover") that kiss you with tongue and then leave you alone on the dance floor; and "Always" that just grows inside your head like a happy fungus with its underwater mystery sensation.
The band is about to head out on a national tour but dazed Webster Hall in New York this week with its amazing ability to remain relevant to an indie audience by celebrating their uniqueness and not overselling to the corporate buffoons. "Mosquito" feels more mature, yet at the same time has an element of nonchalant ecstasy that appropriates the sound to a very current state of affairs. The post recession celebration of culture, perhaps through a no despair, no heartache attitude, results in an album filled with potential orgasmic flirtation and just enough intellectualism.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs