First Listen: Yeasayer "Fragrant World"

Putting a preview of a new album on the internet has become a nice tradition in the music business these days, now that there are more and more music bloggers out there and less clearly identifiable journalists left to send the CDs to anymore. According to The Hype Machine, Yeasayer were the most-blogged-about artist in 2010 – after releasing their last album “Odd Blood” – and so it is only fair that they took this to the next level with their new LP Fragrant World: They made a game out of it and hid their album as unlisted Youtube videos all over the place for us to search for them. Those are up till friday 8pm EST, but if you wanted to take part in that game, it is too late now, as they of course have all been found and linked to in bulk already, for example by Stereogum.

Yeasayer’s third LP features their known style of dancey yet unorthodox pop tunes and will be out on Mute/Secretly Canadian on August 20/21th. The band definitely stayed true to this vibe, but kept up with recent shifts in music developments and on some songs moved from the light 80ies sounds to a darker, but nonetheless powerful 90ies and R&B influenced beats and vocals. And they have gotten more experimental, playing with different rhythms and synth lines without forgetting about catchy chorus lines.

You may have heard “Henrietta” already, the first release from the album, which displays this change quite nicely by starting out as a light tune that could have had its rightful place on “Odd Blood”. But it breaks down halfway in and develops into a beautifully smoldering ambient ruin of itself. This method was used on most of the tracks on “Fragrant World”, as Yeasayer take the pop, smash it to pieces and put it back together in a weird way. “Blue Paper”, below, uses some house tunes as duct tape, before the package unravels in the last third and only the tape remains, kind of.

This formula is working, obviously, but they tend to repeat it over and over and I got bored by it somewhere between tracks seven and nine. Yeasayer have never been a band whose albums I could enjoy in one go, but whose songs work better as single tracks, comparable to Miike Snow in that way. Because under all these ideas and experiments there are always the hooks, the chorus lines and the autotuned vocals, and honestly, those are tiresome when consumed en masse. But they are a fantastic ground on which to build remixes, so I am looking forward to those in the near future, as they will bring different approaches to these nonetheless very enjoyable pop songs.


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