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Album review: Yeasayer's 'Odd Blood'

February 8, 2010 |  5:29 pm

Yeasayer_240_ Things start bleak on "Odd Blood." The second album from worldly Brooklyn art rockers Yeasayer opens with "The Children," a post-apocalyptic mix of clanks, clacks, distorted vocals, manipulated instruments and dooming electronic effects. Yet in many ways, it's a three-minute fake-out.  

If the songs that follow don't get less experimental, the rest of the album isn't nearly as foreboding. "Ambling Alp," in fact, is downright inspirational, with life lessons Dr. Seuss could get behind. Sings Chris Keating, "Stick up yourself, son / Never mind what anybody else done." Animated polyrhythms lead into the celebratory chorus, and snyths bleed into guitars until it's impossible to pinpoint which instrument is which in the psychedelic mix.

Purportedly inspired, according to a Rolling Stone article, by doing a lot of acid in New Zealand, "Odd Blood" ultimately reveals that beneath all the weird sounds, tribal harmonies and otherworldly textures, Yeasayer are still a bunch of indie-rock sentimentalists. "O.N.E.," for instance, explores romantic idealism while kicking up the kind of cross-continental dance party that would make Peter Gabriel proud. "Love Me Girl" gets lost in a parade of glitchy electronics, clubby beats and fiery piano lines, all of it resulting in a plea to save a relationship. The message, at times, is homely, but the trip is anything but. 

--Todd Martens

"Odd Blood"
Secretly Canadian
Three and a half stars (Out of four)