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Monday, March 23, 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeah's "It's Blitz"

EDITORS NOTE: About once a month the writers of the RSL get together and look through new projects, drink the finest of wines and shoot our mouths off about music and politics. (And have a pretty damn decent time, I must say!) We recently hosted a debate about the new album from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. What follows is the review of our own Nick Parker.... He defends the dramatic shift in sound the band has undertaken in a just a few short months. (We really miss the rock guitar...) And while Nick and the YYYs haven't won us over just yet, we're definitely listening!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O

photo by Kirstie Shanley

May I take this opportunity to introduce to you a band from New York that you only think you know of…

When I saw Crystal Castles for the first time last year, performing at Glastonbury festival (alas, only televised), I remember thinking to myself “This is a interesting proposition… a dance band trying to replicate some of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ anger, muddy sound and phenomenal front-woman’s ability to tear up (and down) the stage.” Things have come full circle. Listening to “It’s Blitz,” I think to myself, “This is an interesting proposition… a guitar band trying to replicate Crystal Castles' dark electronica and dance-laden pacing, with overdriven synths and drums mixed with drum-machines.”

It really is a good idea.

It's Blitz :: CD Pre-Order Copies ship on 3/31
Also on sale right now through Itunes and Amazon.


I want to speak to some of the numerous naysayers of “It’s Blitz,” because I’ve come across a lot, and I don’t want to just dismiss them. In fact, I have a lot of sympathy with their disappointment with this album. There were few who were bigger fans of the two albums and an EP that this band’s previous incarnation put out than me. When I first heard “It’s Blitz” I did feel sad not to hear that kind of sound again. So much less guitar here from Nick, so much less live drums from Brian.

But I ask those who have seen “It’s Blitz” as the beginning of the band’s demise this question: What have you lost which can’t still be celebrated in listening to “Fever to Tell,” “Show Your Bones,” or “Is is” again? Luckily for us, all those recordings are set in stone, but the band (also luckily for us) is not so static. “It’s Blitz” doesn’t steal the old music away, and it does give us, yet again, something fresh to listen to at every turn.

This is why it’s perhaps less painful to the hardened Yeah Yeah Yeahs fans, like myself, to disregard what similarities do still exist, and meet this new band on their own terms. This album – “It’s Blitz” – is dark, energetic, sometimes touching, sometimes tongue-in-check. It’s a set of songs that, like the music of a great band called the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (from a couple of years ago) seem full of vitality. Don’t let that pass you by because you love them too much to let them grow.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
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