Yeasayer reminds one of a cat sliding around on a hardwood floor – they click, skitter and slide sideways before leaping ten feet straight up in the air and landing on the windowsill. It’s just the right amount of unsettling, and it hits home in their latest album, Fragrant World.
From the the crunchy sound of “Fingers Never Bleed” to the synth-coated groove of “Damaged Goods,” Fragrant World is a solid album jam-packed with sounds that dance around, under and over each other. Just when you think something’s landing, it takes off again. It’s impressive how the band members are able to make everything that’s going on in each song work. Each element fits in with all the others around it, creating songs instead of totally disjointed groupings of sounds. With another band, perhaps, this album could be a disaster. But Yeasayer pulls it off beautifully, layering vocal harmonies, synth, and electronic miscellany with hardly any missteps.
They’ve somehow managed to create danceable tunes that also harbor a sense of foreboding and doom. It’s like the dance music of the apocalypse, which is fitting, given that the world is supposed to end this December. Maybe they’re the sound of the post-apocalyptic club scene. It never quite veers off into the too-depressing; instead, it skirts the edge. It’s the kind of album one could listen to on a rainy day or sunny one, which is rare. It’s a nice answer to the too-sweet pop songs that pepper Top 40 stations nowadays, and is reminiscent of the 80s New Wave scene.
Radio-friendly, this album is not. The length of the tracks is the most off-putting thing about Yeasayer’s latest effort. Song lengths hover around four minutes for most of the tracks, and there aren’t many catchy, sing-along moments. It’s nice to have shorter tunes in an album to break it up a bit, and Yeasayer doesn’t do this at all. Consequently, some of the songs begin to drag near the end. Guess the cat has to slow down sometimes.
Fragrant World is one of those records that requires a few listens to get into, but it’s definitely worth an investment of time.
Yeasayer - Fragrant World tracklist:
- “Fingers Never Bleed”
- “Blue Paper”
- “Devil and the Deed”
- “No Bones”
- “Reagan’s Skeleton”
- “Demon Road”
- “Damaged Goods”
- Folk Hero Shtick”
- “Glass of the Microscope”