Album Review: Yeasayer, "Odd Blood"

One of the great strengths-slash-weaknesses of American music vis-à-vis its British rival is a relative lack of irony. It's hard to imagine any 'sneer-always-near' UK group dishing up the rich, cheesy, poptastic mish-mash of resuscitated sounds (disco-funk, Balearic house, sax riffs, dreamy harmonies, Pet Shop Boys noodling, etc.) that Odd Blood contains, while maintaining a straight face.

But the Brooklyn trio's follow-up to 2007’s All Hour Cymbals pulls it off with an infectious sincerity, drive and energy that drags you in and makes all the inherent uncoolness... well, cool. 

This is especially evident in the self-help lyrics of Ambling Alp, with a vocal stretched into a fragile falsetto, delivered over a synth-flute hook, pegged down with parping synths, and poured enthusiastically over burbling world music rhythms that suggest the group cares madly and deeply for the rainforest and the bonobos. It shouldn't work, but it does, and when music gambles like this and wins, the payout is a jackpot.

Colin Liddell
26th February, 2010

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