#19. Yeasayer - Odd Blood

When I first heard Yeasayer's Odd Blood early this year, I felt a certain amount of bittersweetness toward the album. At the time of the eclectic band's freshmen release, All Hour Cymbals, they liked to describe their sound as "Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel", which might sound a little ridiculous, but they rightfully earned every one of those titles. All Hour Cymbals had this haunting, apocalyptic feel to it, with hits like "2080" and "Sunrise", acting as strange paranoidal visions of the future, guided by Talking Heads psychedelics and Keating's unsettling vocal qualities. In Yeasayer's newest release though, the band has chosen to assimilate indie's love affair with 80's nostalgia into their bag of tricks. In songs like "Love Me Girl" and "Madder Red", Yeasayer recalls disco and David Bowie with its own take on bubbly baselines and reverb-laden snare hits. Inspired by an LSD trip in New Zealand and reportedly "attempting to challenge R&B's hold on dance music", Yeasayer has taken influence from a much more pop-centered source this time around. The result is a sound which is as successful in its dance floor-readiness as it is thoughtful in experimentation. The best example might be their single "O.N.E.", which features huge disco beats mixed with African rhythms, is a seamless and joyous melting pot of styles and genres all wrapped up in a rays of sunny pop pleasure. And even so, I'll admit it was a bit off-putting to hear a band replace its more unique and organic sound with production-heavy dance tracks at first. But upon closer listening, you'll hear a lot of the same elements things that made All Hour Cymbals so compelling and bizarre still very much intact. Many of the songs are simply all over the spectrum lyrically and musically, bring their wonky eclecticism to a whole new level. And besides, when a band's "new sound" is as infectious and imaginative as songs like "O.N.E." and "Ambling Alp", you can't help but recognize Yeasayer' Odd Blood as an example of a band taking bold, successful steps forward. It's always a good sign when you can't help but wonder where a band will take their sound next.

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