Album Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Mosquito’

Posted: 15/04/2013 in Uncategorized

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As published in Sunday Business Post Magazine on April 14th 2013

With their last release marred by a premature leak, Yeah Yeah Yeahs have cautiously played the game of slow-burning anticipation with fourth album Mosquito. Announcements direct from Karen O via social media, a tantalising viral video teaser, the unveiling of Beomsik Shimbe Shim’s garish artwork, a radio exclusive first-play for lead single ‘Sacrilege’, and even a band-led online listening party in advance of release.

The trio have been busy since 2009’s It’s Blitz! with a myriad of individual endeavours in the interim – Nick Zinner embracing his penchants for orchestral arrangements and photography, Brian Chase crafting a solo album, and Karen O dabbling in psycho-opera composition and collaborating with Santigold, David Lynch and Trent Reznor. Such diverse new influences have unsurprisingly added further twists to the classic YYYs edgy post-punk indie stylings, but whilst the band’s creative influences have deviated, the names of Nick Launay and Dave Sitek at the production helm remain unchanged. “This is a feel good, food for the soul, chicken soup for the ears Yeah Yeah Yeahs record – which doesn’t mean easy listening…” warned Karen O in advance of release. She’s a woman of her word.

The gospel-infused ‘Sacrilege’ is quite simply epic – albeit an ambitious album opener, the standard of which isn’t matched throughout. The rhythmically ominous ‘Under The Earth’ stands out, Chase striking percussive perfection, and Karen O’s vocal delivery at the peak of her ability. The razor-sharp riffs of the title-track hint at greatness, however the overuse of mosquito metaphors is tiresome – nevertheless, it’ll be an incendiary live offering.

The mention of James Murphy in the production credits for ‘Buried Alive’ instilled strong anticipation, but the result proves underwhelming – Karen O seems disengaged, and the Dr. Octagon nu-metal style guest rap is just bizarre. Several other tracks veer dangerously towards monotony – that said, when Mosquito is good it’s great, as proved by the juxtaposing closing duo of the anthemic ‘Despair’ and the emotive ‘Wedding Song’.

Mosquito is by no means Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ finest offering to date, but there are enough quality tracks to supersede the questionable inclusions.

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