A week from now, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs will release their fourth full-length album, Mosquito, four years after the disappointing, Blondie-esque It's Blitz. Judging by this first single and the quick listens I've been able to string together of bits of the new songs, they've abandoned the post-rock dance party and gone back to indie-rocking, although many of their songs remind me of others: Under The Earth has a very Stooges-like feel (never a bad thing), the title song goes 1999-era Strokes mixed in with The Doors' Five To One and a few Jefferson Airplane notes thrown in for good measure, and Area 52 has an Incesticide-era Nirvana vibe.
That being said, I can never forget the impact their first record, Fever To Tell (2003) - and the live shows up to and including that era - have had on me. I remember when I left New York in the Fall of 1999, we had been called Jon Spencer rip-offs for playing a loud, rocking version of blues riffs without the presence of a bass. I mean, shit - we were shat on for two years and tagged as imitators. Fast forward a year or so after leaving town, late-2000/early 2001, as Creed dominates the charts, the top up-and-coming bands in the U.S. are The White Stripes and The Black Keys, and the most-hyped band in New York are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs - all bass-less, all overblown blues riffs, all two-or-three piece bands involving only guitar and drums (although YYY use bass tracks now).
Needless to say, I was curious to hear them, and was awaiting their live shows ready to tear them to shreds in a review. But I couldn't - they were really good. Despite the lack of insightful lyrics, the one line continuously repeated throughout the chorus, singer Karen O's cheesy gestures. They were good performers, and some of their songs - Maps, Rich, Date With The Night, Modern Romance - were truly great.
On a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is Creed/Nickleback, 10 is anything Jack White touches and Miles Davis, and 7 is The Black Keys, I'll score YYY a good, hard 8. Despite the Blondie record.
In this video, a reverse-order sequence explains why The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus' (a great fucking movie, by the way) Lily Cole gets burned alive. Spoiler alert: she truly is the town slut.