Four years ago, Yeah Yeah Yeahs released the brain smashing album It’s Blitz! and the world fell at the bizarrely decadent feet of Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase. since then the New Yorkers have been covered by none other than Glee… But less of that. 2012 may have been heralded as the end of the world, but 2013 marks the coming of Mosquito and despite the terribly nightmarish album artwork, it’s actually a pretty decent record.
Lead single ‘Sacrilege’ is a spectacular return to the past and I always find that if a band has been squirreled away for a number of years, it is always best to return with a similar yet more in your face comeback. Everyone loves a gospel choir and I defy anyone not to want to stand on tables screaming the words ‘Sacrilege, sacrilege you say!!’ at the top of their lungs. It’s all that we missed from chief kook Karen O and her plethora of colour and glitter.
‘Subway’ is a much more subdued affair that reminds people that for all of the screaming and raving, Karen O is a very competent singer and that YYYs have more weapons in their armoury than the mainstream hits played at every indie night in life ever. The gentle clacking of Subway sound effects in the backing of this track make it soothing in a way and I bet you never thought you could have entertained the idea of having a YYYs track on a bedtime playlist.
‘Under The Earth’ is all bass and is bound to earn itself many a music fan head bob upon first listen. The subtle bass may not sound much in the presence of the track, but it’s this that carries what otherwise could have been a very dull track from a band who like to dress like bananas every now and again. The deeper you get into this album, the more it feels like YYYs are growing up.
Dedicated to the aliens, ‘Area 52′ is the contradiction to this. Sounding like a rave in an aircraft hanger, Karen O is snarly, agitated and ready for an extraterrestrial assault on the ears of millions. It soars like a spaceship powered by a savage guitar shred that Billie Joe Armstrong would give his right arm to have.
The chops and changes in tempo on the album are well planned and seem less like it’s been thrown together as some previous albums have appeared. ‘Always’ is the light relief or comedown from previous tracks and take listeners to a head space of relaxation and jingle bells of all things. I was expecting ‘Wedding Song’ to be some kind of punk protest as to the sanctity of this ideology, but I was shocked to discover a song you could actually play at a wedding… And not in some kind of ironic ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ way.
This LP may have frightened the crap out of me in both name and cover art, but what YYYs have done is wrapped something truly incredible in a not so attractive packaging… Perhaps an unintentional social commentary on how we view society in this age we live in and it’s already on track to be number one in the album chart this week. Mosquito certainly gets my vote.
Words by Rachael Scarsbrook
‘Mosquito’ is out now.