New York has always boasted a vibrant music scene, with bands such as The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, Le Tigre and MGMT all hailing from the Big Apple. Add to that impressive list one of the latest bands to come over the ‘little pond’ to good ol’ blighty – Yeasayer.
Formed in 2006, Yeasayer first arrived on the scene when they appeared at the South by South West festival. Describing their sound as “Middle Eastern-psych-pop-snap-gospel” (make of that what you will), the quartet released their first album All Hour Cymbals in 2007, followed by Odd Blood in 2010.
So why should Yeasayer be your new favourite band? Two reasons: firstly, because they write damn good songs with lots of different sounds layered on top of each other, and secondly because they’re not like other bands. It’s hard to pigeon-hole Yeasayer’s sound and with all the different influences Yeasayer draw inspiration from, it’s even harder to define what their particular sound actually is.
Listening to both of their albums, it’s obvious that Yeasayer’s sound has evolved over time. All Hour Cymbals melds multi-part harmonies and “pan-ethnic spiritualism” with subtle synthesizer sounds and effects. Odd Blood still takes these influences, but has a more poppy, electronic feel about it. In fact, the synth electronic sounds have become so much pronounced that in a recent NME interview the band were quoted as saying “our songs are so complex we wish we were machines to play them live”. Vocalist Chris Keating described their debut album as “a globalisation album – sounding like artefacts of different times and cultures thrown together”. Talking about Odd Blood, Keating decribed it as “pushing that further into the future, with electronic drums, industrial percussion and reggaeton beats”. Perhaps that evolution in sound has got something to do with a trip to New Zealand and taking the vast amounts of LSD that the band allegedly indulged in, as reported by the LA Times nonetheless.
Yeasayer’s experimental approach certainly have gone down well, with the notoriously hard to please critics giving All Hour Cymbals and Odd Blood rave reviews. Despite that you’d be forgiven if you’ve never even heard of them for only now, with the release of the first single from Old Blood ‘O.N.E.’, are they starting to get air-play. Unusually, this doesn’t seem to be an issue for Yeasayer, with multi-instrumentalist Anand Wilder saying “I don’t wanna be that band that’s shoved down everybody’s throats…I’d rather be that weird band under the radar that writes really catchy songs.”
So if we’ve whetted your appetite for all things Yeasayer, get hold of a copy of Odd Blood. And if you fancy catching them live, they have just announced a UK tour. Need we say any more?