Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mosquito, Interscope
In the promotional lead up to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs newest album, a lot was promised. Karen O was quoted in an interview with The Guardian as saying “It’s Blitz was so clean and cold in a way, it was precise and electronic. I personally wanted to do something a bit more quirky, a bit more sexy, a bit more visceral.” Given the discussion of the band members tousle with depression, anxiety and darkness, alongside the acknowledgement of the rigidity of third album It’s Blitz, Mosquito promised to please committed fans who had been with the art-punkers from the beginning. So does Mosquito live up to the hype?
Opening track and first single to be released from the album, ‘Sacriliage’, is as obscure as it is stunning. Combining the ever reliable Yeah Yeah Yeahs punk style with a 24-piece gospel choir was an act of genius by the band and shows that they still have truly original ideas about what music can be.
The rest of the album certainly is dark, and showcases some frankly obscure lyricism. There are no radio hits on this album thanks to these strange lyrics and they go to prove that the three-piece is as surreal as it has always been. However, despite the claims made by Karen O, they have yet to shake the cleanliness found in the third album, which leaves the album feeling somewhat underwhelming. ‘These Paths’ and ‘Area 52’ are the closest to dirty the album gets; the former playing with repetition, shrieking, and distortion to excellent effect while the latter is a true party tune, simply waiting to be danced to under your influence of choice.
Title track ‘Mosquito’ provides some of the most obscure lyrics on the album as Karen O lets us all know she’s gonna suck our blood, but the music is too clean. A legendary Yeah Yeah Yeahs track has been missed out here, something which could have rivaled ‘Date with the Night’ had they only made it a little less neat around the edges. ‘Subway’ is a track which sucks you in and forces you into the depths of your own imagination, and much the same can be said for the majority of the tracks.
This is the biggest disappointment of the album. While a few tracks which push you into your own mind can be hugely wonderful, there is no throat-grabbing tracks to counteract this effect. Sure, the music is obscure and arty, but none of it is enough to force you to pay attention. Because of this lazy vibe, it’s easy to miss the genius. ‘Buried Alive’ should be a stand-up-and-listen track, but as it is sandwiched between equally laid-back tracks, you are lucky if you don’t miss it.
The album has a lot of potential with a lot of great tracks and a lot of great lyrics. If only it’d been a little more lively, and a little more rough, and we could’ve had a classic on our hands.