CD review of “It’s Blitz!,” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
April 3, 2009
Steamboat Springs — The Yeah Yeah Yeahs weren’t that great at being garage punks.
Sure, they did it with flair, letting lead girl Karen O run wild with her vocals and letting arty, dense song structures slog through cut-and-paste guitar riffs and build sections that were more impressive than the meat of any track. It wasn’t bad – it just wasn’t much.
The New York-based trio takes on arty dance rock on its third full-length release, “It’s Blitz!”
Songs such as “Zero,” “Runaway” and “Little Shadow” preserve the distance the Yeahs showed on their 2003 debut “Fever To Tell” without any of O’s badass squealing or her backing band’s willingness to slam on things. That’s a good thing – anyone listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for their grit in 2003 was listening to the wrong band. “Fever To Tell” was more impressive for its layering than it was for its edge (listen to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ best-known song, a ballad called “Maps.”). The songs on “It’s Blitz!” support that balance, allowing plenty of vulnerability to break through its still sometimes rough edges.
“Skeletons” takes the minimalist beats that lend basic structure to the beginning of “Blitz” and leaves them alone. They sound better this way, especially when paired with O’s vocals, which float through the song’s skeletal electronic structure with simple emotions.
“Blitz” succeeds in keeping the experimentation that made “Fever” novel, if not memorable, and stripping away about 75 percent of the excess sound.
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