Yeasayer - Fragrant World

The album oozes confidence, flipping between the weird and wonderful.

Label: Mute Artists

Rating: 8

It is reasonable to worry every now and again that music, like history, will repeat itself and given a few years all we’ll be left with is miserable duplicates of tired chord formulas. And it may well happen. But, for now, you can sleep safe in the knowledge Yeasayer exist. Rarely does a band leave genres on the cutting room floor quite so blatantly and yet emerge with such consistently excellent music.

The New York five piece must have been feeling the pressure after the success they reaped with their second album, ‘Odd Blood’, two years ago, but it doesn’t show. If anything, they have thrown yet more caution to the wind and attempted to push each song on the album beyond the ordinary with at least 17 different layers. They succeed in avoiding a clumsy cacophony of noise.

Not shy of instrumentals, Yeasayer’s drums and breakdowns are insane and plentiful – their use of synth licks will have you gurning. Every kick, clap, shake and synth fits perfectly while vocalist Chris Keating once again blends infectious melody with obscene pitch. We’re left with a futuristic disco-car crashing full pelt into a haunted house. And it sounds good.

Keating’s lyrics are filled with more emotion than you might expect considering the music’s apparent buoyancy – but this helps foster the power and passion in the album. At times he could be crying, but it’s probably because he’s having such a good time.

On first listen ‘Longevity’ is the stand out track where Keating’s vocals prompt memories of At The Drive-In’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala – y’know, when he’s all chilled out. Progressing through the album, the tracks seem to become more dancefloor targeted. Some of the drum patterns would make house and techno producers green with envy.

The music is so tight and ferocious in its purpose that at times it loses some of the jocular tinge felt on previous work. This doesn’t dampen the enjoyment of ‘Fragrant World’ as it lends to air that Yeasayer are taking their capabilities seriously.

The album oozes confidence flipping between the weird and wonderful with occasional flashes of decadence. Do not mistake the complexity of Yeasayer’s work for indulgent musical masturbation as this sound could not be created if they weren’t allowed to run riot in the studio.

Between sombre tones and esctasy highs, and with tracks like ‘Folk Hero Shtick’ and ‘Reagan’s Skeleton’, this will leave you with a grin on your face and a confidence music will keep going. But, with these guys leading the way, God knows where.