Yeasayer

Odd Blood by Yeasayer (Secretly Canadian Records)

Upon first listen Yeasayer gave me the impression of early 80’s groups like Depeche Mode, Soft Cell and Heaven 17. Their singer is of quirky-cool voice and the music is mainly electronic in origin. But seeing them on a late night show revealed a full band with drummer, guitarist and bassist. Intrigued, I gave a closer listen to the band and found that, while my first impressions were still the same about the band influences, Yeasayer’s new album Odd Blood is quite a fascinating and fun experience.

Recorded in former Peter Gabriel drummer Jerry Marotta’s upstate New York studio the trio made full use of his old synthesizers and various percussive instruments. There are splashes of guitar throughout the album but the main focus is on rhythmic dance pop.

Ambling Alp is bubbly with chipmunk chorus, splashing, chirping and crunching effects in the background and Chris Keating’s sweet falsetto lead vocal. Madder Red follows, subdued guitar and a throbbing bass circle synth drum echoes building to a dramatic crescendo that will make you swoon. I Remember brings to mind Ultravox’s Vienna with its sweeping synth grandeur. O.N.E. is a blissfully funky song focusing on pumping bass, a perky beat augmented by dizzying percussive touches and Keating singing “Hold me like you used to”.

Any of Yeasayer’s tunes would fit well on a modern teen romantic comedy, likely featuring It Nerd Michael Cera chasing after a girl. Odd Blood closes with Grizelda, where vocals float over handclaps, drawn out keyboards and whooshing synths, the heavenly choral voices perfect for when the geeky hero gets the girl and the camera swoops up and away over the city skyline into the clouds and all is right in the world.

(Review by Bret Miller)

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