Yeasayer - SINKANE
Since the release of their critically acclaimed 2007 debut All Hour Cymbals, Yeasayer has been around the world and back again. While their first record was conceived in total artistic isolation, constant touring forced Yeasayer to finally engage with their contemporaries.
Inspired by musicians hell-bent on sonic experimentation as well as those more comfortable in a pop context, Yeasayer find their domain spanning across the musical spectrum. Studied, road worn, and eager to begin phase two, Yeasayer retreated to upstate New York to begin work on their new album titled ODD BLOOD.
If All Hour Cymbals was Yeasayer’s attempt at global and ambient cultural mash-up then ODD BLOOD takes place in an off-world colony sometime after the Singularity. Glimmering reverb haze is eschewed and replaced by a cavalcade of disorienting pitch effects and flickering ectoplasmic wisps. Instead of layered vocal harmonies the processed vocals congeal into blots and blobs of otherworldly chatter. Many organic elements are left behind and replaced by sounds and rhythms that inspire the body as much as the mind. At times Yeasayer sound as if they would be at home playing live in scene from Blade Runner or inside one of Oscar Neimeyer’s concrete modernist temples from the 1960s.
ODD BLOOD is an album divided into two halves; the first being top heavy with pop songs, while the latter full of the playful and strange.
Side One. The album begins with “The Children,” a twisted chopped and screwed stomp, full of sub bass and spooky keyboards. Distorted vocals create hidden hooks and it’s immediately clear: this isn’t the same Yeasayer. After the rubble clears the album leaps into Yeasayer’s version of the pop anthem with “Ambling Alp,” “Madder Red,” “I Remember,” and “O.N.E.” Yeasayer have plunged into the craft of pop music, and the exercise has paid off.
Side Two. The second half of ODD BLOOD is slightly more experimental in nature. Sci-fi musical jams (“Mondegreen”), maniacal rants (“Grizelda”), and paranoia (“Love Me Girl”) show the band exploring more paranoid motifs, yet never deprive the listener of hooks and ear candy.
ODD BLOOD plays out at a blistering pace, yet it never sacrifices depth or content. It is immediately evident the band has advanced in songwriting as well as sonic craft. Lyrically, it is a more mature and honest album than the first, as the band demonstrates a confidence to explore more personal themes alongside vividly depicted tales. One thing is certain: Yeasayer are accomplished audiologists who are willing to pilfer decades of pop sensibilities and cultural history to create something that is uniquely their own.
Yeasayer was formed by the three core members - Chris Keating, Anand Wilder, and Ira Wolf Tuton - in New York circa 2006. Keating and Wilder were friends from the Park School of Baltimore; the same high school where Animal Collective first formed. The two played in a band before going their separate ways after graduation; Keating moving to Rhode Island and later New York and Wilder attending Penn State. Growing weary of solo tour dates, Keating invited Wilder and his cousin, Ira Wolf Tuton, up to New York and the trio began writing music. The trio first gained major attention on a concert date at the 2007 South by Southwest Festival, and soon released the two singles, "Sunrise" and "2080" (the first songs they ever wrote). Yeasayer soon released their debut album, All Hour Cymbals, in late 2007 on We Are Free Records. The album officially thrust Yeasayer into the public indie eye and turned the three friends into "up-and-comers".
With the 2010 follow-up, Odd Blood, Yeasayer's contradictory nature told them to make something different from what had brought them fame; which meant doing something more normal. The album has brought the group more mainstream success due to the more universal sound, but the members of Yeasayer are keeping a level head. Take, for example, Yeasayer's upcoming tour dates for 2011: While the group no longer plays small dive bars, you won't find any concert dates at commercial venues like the House of Blues. Yesayer's North American spring tour will begin on May 21 in San Diego, CA and will spend the rest of May on the west coast. The group will make a few stops in central states before landing on the east coast on June 9. Yeasayer will play tour dates up the east coast from Boston to New York City, where concert dates will end on June 18. Fans who enjoy the unique sound and indie style of Yeasayer should check out the 2011 tour dates, as the band's popularity might not keep them out of arenas for long.