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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews

6.4

Yeasayer
Odd Blood

While I don't try and make a habit of comparing an album with the creator's previous work, in the case of Yeasayer's second LP I think it's something that's impossible to avoid. With their debut, All Hours Cymbals, the Brooklyn group were able to achieve the rare feat of completely immersing the listener within the musical space they had invented, creating a warm and welcoming single composition, which although neatly packaged into creatively abundant consumable slices, was still undeniably part of a more complete, single vision.

Even though a lot of what makes Yeasayer an exciting band still creeps through on this record - the off-kilter tribal rhythms, the spine-tingling vocals etc - ultimately, Odd Blood is a collection of songs, rather an album. A substantial portion of the record finds the band keeping the listener at a distance, making them witnesses to their newly discovered pop ambitions, rather than ushering them into their world.

That said, there are still plenty of moments on Odd Blood that show glimmers of hope that Yeasayer haven't completely sold themselves up the ladder into soul-sucked 'indie' pop salvation just yet. The opening track, The Children, is a spastic android anthem, brilliantly warping together robotic vocals with a fictional, over-theatrical, movie trailer score. It also neatly squashes together the same mixed emotions of hope, despair and joy that appear on the majority of the group's career highlights. The lead single, Ambling Alp, is another clear standout with it's infectious chorus line and celebratory melodies helping it naturally travel forward on it's own guilt-free momentum.

But Odd Blood is still definitely a step down for the talented group. Littered with songs that sound too familiar and formulaic to hold any forceful argument of creative freedom, the album gets bogged down in the slow, safe lane for the majority of it's journey. While All Hours Cymbals sounded like an unpredictable adventure, where the group had few limitations to where they travelled, Odd Blood sounds apprehensive, self-restricted and largely void of the characteristics that made me fall head over heals in love with Yeasayer in the first place.

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Yeasayer

 

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Comments

Aaaaaaaaaron

I think 'Odd Blood' is more accessible at first listen than 'All Hours Cymbals', with tracks like 'One' which is just a bit of fun. But for me, 'Odd Blood' fades towards the end and I find myself starting at beginning all over again.

1 decade ago

Rav

This album has really grown on me. It's also helped that they've released some phenomenal film clips to go with it.

9 years ago

(nobody)

It's certainly a slow grower of an album. There are parts of Odd Blood where I do feel a little alienated as a listener but tracks like Madder Red and Ambling Alp bring me back and take me to some fun, glittery places.
You almost need those moments of psychic isolation to have a connection to the other accessible tracks on the album. Although not a cohesive piece by any stretch of the imagination, Yeasayer have done enough to keep me coming back to what is one of the more interesting releases of this year.

9 years ago

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