Identity crisis behind them, the NYC trio returns with a monstrously fine
BY NANCY DUNHAM
In the case of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Zero” equaled
That song, says lead singer Karen O, was the first
the trio put together when they headed to the rural hinterlands to write It’s Blitz (Interscope), the band’s
first album in three years. The peppy, upbeat song clicked, setting the tone
for the rest of the peppy-beat-out-the-tune on the-dashboard album and eased some
of the personal tensions that have plagued the New York-based band.
Karen O blames “growing pains” and an “identity
crisis” that manifested itself in the form of “strife, turmoil and pain” and
sent the trio careening toward break up land. But according to the vocalist,
that’s over now. Suffice to say the members are through those dark nights and
back into their band and its music.
that we really settled into our selves as people and musicians,” she adds. “Of
course we’re constantly changing as individuals but we had to kind of get back
to the common ground and dynamics.”
It shows. It’s Blitz is something akin to a
musical racehorse that bursts out of the starting gate leaving you holding on
for the ride of your life. Forget the past; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have it down
now with assertive musical energy behind Karen O’s trademark vocals, which
slash like a finely sharpened sword or float along like a summer cloud.
Gone is the
Ramones-in-the-seventies guitar sounds, replaced by an Arp synthesizer, that
gives It’s Blitz a retro yet funky
sound. The beat’s heavy when needed but there is just the right amount of
musical flavoring (think tambourine and maracas) to spice up songs such as the
mid-tempo, punk-infused “Shame and Fortune” so they stand out from the crowd.
That’s not to
say the guitar has been completely purged. “Dull Life,” starts at a slow pace
and then glides into an intense beat that Karen O would say makes you want to
“dance your ass off.”
Bottom line –
Yeah Yeah Yeahs are back with a polished,
fun sound on what may well be the album to beat this year.