Yeasayer: ODD BLOOD

Mon May 17 2010

Don’t resist the notion: Yeasayer is indeed treading a trajectory dangerously parallel to Animal Collective’s.  The first couple of times I listened to the band’s 2007 debut All Hour Cymbals, I was turned off by the similarities.  As is often the case, it took a revelatory live show to make me revisit the album in earnest, and I hardly hear the AC in it any more.

With Odd Blood, Yeasayer has gone from ethereal, experimental folkishness to a more vocal-oriented, synthesized and danceable approach--sound like any other Brooklyn-based critical darlings to you?  But again, as blatantly derivative as this seems, the albums (i.e., this and Merriweather Post Pavilion) are so dissimilar once you unravel them that you can comfortably chalk it up as inadvertent thought-transference.  Two bands, evolving independently, yet both tied to the rabid spirit of effusive pop rising up from their borough these days.  We could have the first localized pop uprising since Seattle on our hands.

How can it be a unified movement if it’s constantly changing?  Call it an insistent trend toward a non-cloying, pure pop sensibility.  After hearing the first single, “Ambling Alp”, I was prepared for the dance party to ensue; I wasn’t quite expecting Erasure, though.  I can’t think of anything Odd Blood reminds me more of.  You might also find, if you delve into the Erasure catalog a bit (bear with me here), it isn’t as horribly cheesy as it first appears.  The bottom line is unbridled enthusiasm and ability to move your body.

If you’re not moved by “I Remember”, go get yourself hopelessly obsessed with someone, somehow, at all costs.  If “O.N.E.” or “Love Me Girl” doesn’t make you want to dance, you need to undergo hypnosis to remove some grave inhibitions.  If the simple message of “Ambling Alp” (“Stick up for yourself, son/Never mind what anybody else done”) doesn’t inspire you, perhaps you’re sleepwalking through life.

Okay, maybe pop music just isn’t your thing.  Fine; don’t dig any deeper.  But I’m telling you, if you just kinda like Odd Blood so far, don’t give up.  This is as bubblegum as indie can reasonably get, and it is weird and spacey and aching, so basically it’s perfection.  After a while, even the sad songs make you feel happy the second you hear that first note.  Who knew it could be the Brooklyn freak-folk scene that staged the next infiltration of good music into the mainstream?

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