#9. Yeasayer – Odd Blood
With their second album, Yeasayer started to turn their undeniable creativity into funky funky songs. I use “funky” twice, for both meanings of the word: the music has strong groovy beats, and is also slightly strange.
Odd Blood starts with the dark and swampy “The Children,” before kicking into some of the strongest cuts on the album, “Ambling Alp,” “Madder Red,” and “O.N.E.” These songs show off their style perfectly. All are filled with deep percussion, swirly guitars, catchy harmonies, and just a hint of a sensual groove. The long intro to “Love Me Girl” sounds like Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack,” except all warped. Heck, deep down, a lot of the beats sound like they could have been influenced by Timbaland. Needless to say, the production throughout this album is pretty amazing. Everything fits together, creating a unique musical space.
Turns out, Yeasayer uses a lot of experimentation in making their music, such as plugging samplers into a television to create a wall of sound, sampling found Moroccan music, or singing harmonies through a fan. Never has experimentation sounded so catchy! I say “turns out,” because I had no idea about these strange tricks until I read about it on Wikipedia. Listening to Odd Blood, and having seen them live (Coachella again), I had no idea. The tricks never sound avant-garde, never sound like prog rock. (Thankfully.)
So yea, I have no idea what to call Yeasayer’s music. They borrow from all over. The hiphop comparisons from earlier were subtle, because this is by no means an R&B album. Or is it?! I get the sense, and I really hope I’m not wrong, that Yeasayer is still figuring it out themselves. Like, hey, we can make great recordings and do this right! When bands come to that realization, they often return with an epic. (Radiohead, for example, did that after The Bends.) I fully expect an epic of a third album from Yeasayer. But for now, I’m digging on Odd Blood and it’s odd collection of songs.