If you are surprised that Yeah Yeah Yeahs are on album number four, you’d be forgiven. Their sound, like that of many bands set loose upon the world in the early 2000s was more style over substance, and it was only a few singles that showed any real promise (Maps and Y Control). It isn’t that Fever To Tell (their debut album) was bad, it was simply indicative of a young generation of music listeners, who seemingly prioritise aesthetic over musical substance. Still, it was a good listen. Sadly, follow up Show Your Bones stalled, sounding like rehashed ideas and it simply didn’t go anywhere. 2007’s Is Is E.P took a stripped back approach and finally gave listeners some consistency. Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ third album, Its Blitz, seemed like a deliberate grab at mainstream success, full of dance beats, synths, and burying guitars deep in the mix. It had its moments of catchiness, but overall the result was forced and insincere.
And this brings us to album number four, titled Mosquito. It is a synthesis of all the elements found in previous releases, blending the pop sensibility of Its Blitz with the alt-rock edge of Fever To Tell, and if nothing else, this should be commended. The songs here sound much more mature, more grown up. Lead single “Sacrilege” builds to a nice conclusion, featuring a gospel choir. Guitarist Nick Zinner’s riffs are more prominent in the mix too, which adds to the charm. “Under Earth” features a distinct rootsy-rasta vibe, which gives a splash of flavour. Overall though, I am not convinced Yeah Yeah Yeahs really have anything to say. Sure, their music sounds nice at first, but I don’t find very much replay value in their canon to date. There seems to be a large influence on Mosquito by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, the post punk styling’s blended with roots and gospel sounds will likely be seen as an original and cutting edge idea to those unfamiliar with St Nick’s output.
If you enjoyed any of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s previous albums, there is definitely something on Mosquito that you will like. It sounds like a band full of confidence and ideas, but you’ll be hard pressed to find much staying power in any of the material.
By: Tyrone Blackman