sc302cvr-581x581So yeah, sometimes I will use this blog to talk about music that I like. Can’t stop me bro.

So I was listening to Songza (which we all know has basically replaced the radio for everyone with any sort of actual musical tastes) and a song (I honestly have no idea which one) came on from a band called Yeasayer. I had heard another song of theirs previously (“O.N.E.”) and this song sort of made me think of Simian (the band, not the duo Simian Mobile Disco that was formed by two members of the band after the band broke). Two good songs and a favorable comparison to one of my favorite bands meant it was time to check them out in earnest. They just released a live album a few months ago which had material from all their previous three albums, so I figured it was as good a jumping in point as any.

The album starts out with an airport style robot announcer repeating “Good Evening Washington D.C.” again and again and it honestly sounds like it’s about to be the start of a massive Ibiza club DJ album. Not 100% sure but it also sounds like the voice says “Let’s Make Some Love”. So I was a little weirded out. The first track “Finger Never Bleed” is also a little dancey. Somehow made me think a little about a psychedelic Adele. That might just be me though. I’d imagine that if I was at this show and I didn’t know what Yeasayer was about I would be might disappointed that they didn’t explode out with massive dance jams and instead a trippy little synth band appeared.

“Henrietta” was mellow and fun and then it was followed up with what at the time of writing was my favorite track “2080” which starts with a massive wall of sound and then jumps into a fun synthy 70s groove with laser sounds. Who doesn’t like lasers. Possibly because my girlfriend yelled “Run Runner!” recently at a girl running towards the metro I was immediately thinking of Logan’s Run. If a song can make me think of Logan’s Run it’s basically an automatic A plus. The vocals on the track are a little bit strange as the lead singer continues to be a vocal chameleon, this time sounding quite a bit like Mick Jagger. After listening to the album I found out the band has two singers, but that still doesn’t account for the massive differences of vocal characteristics between the songs.

I think it’s also fair to point out that at around 5 tracks in I’ve been tapping my foot to just about every song on the album, that’s gotta be a good sign right?

I also think I should share this thought that I just had. I feel like some people will listen to Yeasayer and have like a spiritual experience or something (like that episode of American Dad where Stan got really into “My Morning Jacket”). This is probably because there is a pretty steep psychedelic edge to most of these songs. I think these people are probably idiots. Absolutely none of the lyrics have struck me as particularly deep and or have even stood out very much at this point. I can easily see some hybrid hippy hipsters following this band around all summer and saying that the music changed their lives. I’m not saying the music isn’t good, I’m saying that it’s not a life changing experience.

For the track “O.N.E.” the vocalists once again shape shift and this time they take the entire band with them as they all come together to form Zonoscope era Cut Copy. Nothing wrong with that, I want to go to the beach now! Even though I have never talked about it here, I have been very publicly supporting retro throwback 80’s synth music ever since I saw Drive. Of course since it’s a live album a bunch of people who think they’re part of some magical shared experience start clapping and singing alone. I would probably be pretty into the whole thing if I was high on E. Pretty sure this is their big song. Here it is:

One track that I did not enjoy was “Madder Red”, the strange little yodeling and zither music was more annoying than trippy and weird (which I’m sure was their intention). Lead singer guy seems to take this song really seriously (when he’s not weird yodeling), which is even more off putting. He ends the track repeating “Please don’t ask me why” a bunch of times. Must be serious business. Least favorite song on the whole thing.

Out of the 15 tracks I would say the down point of the album is the 5 tracks between “O.N.E.” and “Blue Paper”. (Naturally “Madder Red” is right in the middle of those 5 tracks). The tracks aren’t inherently bad but I just listened right through them and the only response I had was a negative one to “Madder Red”. They just felt like filler. If I was at this show it would have been a perfect time to go to the bathroom. All that to say that “Blue Paper” picks things back up and leads things off well for the last 4 tracks of the album (and presumably to send people home on an upswing since this is a live album).

They followed up “Blue Paper” with “Tightrope” and everyone cheered so I was pretty excited. Not the best song on the album but a cool little bongo riff once again had me thinking of Zonoscope Cut Copy. The song (like the whole album really) is not without its cheesy elements but still had a nice chill groove.

The album wraps up with “Devil and the Deed” and “Folk Hero Schtick”. Both good tracks in their own right. It certainly feels like “Devil and the Deed” was the closer and “Folk Hero Schtick” would be the encore. Both are up tempo feel-good psychedelic pop sounding tracks that no doubt made everyone feel pretty good about themselves. It might be cliché but I think that they would have been better served by saving “O.N.E.” as their closer. But, I can also see that if that is in fact they’re “big song” they are a) probably sick of it and b) they probably want to get it out of the way so fans aren’t just hoping every next song is the big one.

Anyhow, I would recommend this album (and subsequently the band on the whole) to anyone who likes weirdo synth music played by a band and not just computers in the vein of Simian and Cut Copy (durr). I dug it, you might too.

Keith does all sorts of things here on, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek

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