...a cosmic barn dance.
Tim Nelson 2007
Thankfully, given some of the wince-inducing publicity that accompanied this, Yeasayer’s first album is less ethereal meandering and more of a cosmic barn dance. The band list some of their influences as Cyndi Lauper, Leonard Cohen, Thomas Mapfumo and Popul Vuh, and if the clash between bubble-headed Lauper and leaden-hearted Cohen begins to suggest what a crazy amalgam Yeasayer is, it is Mapfumo’s politically-charged ‘chimurenga’ music and the dreamlike psychedelia of Popul Vuh that provides the real clues as to where they are coming from. Comparisons can be misleading, however (TV on the Radio meets Peter Gabriel, anyone?); it might be just as useful to note that Yeasayer dream of a future wearing purple robes in a glass-spired city free from terror, but, then again, you may be too busy grooving to All Hour Cymbals’ percussive mantras to notice.
At times, these utopian Brooklynites remind me of the glee I first felt on living in America and discovering that all the old music my contemporaries had rejected as uncool was okay after all, and at other times, they remind me of the shock I felt on discovering that the Moody Blues had also been invited to the party (take the prog stylings here on “No Need to Worry” for example). However, for the most part, Yeasayer do successfully bring off their eclectic combination of hippy space dub and anthemic indie-rock, and from the opening magical (or should that be madrigal?) boogies to the concluding tracks “Wait for the Wintertime” and “Worms / Waves”, the album’s powerful dynamics suggest someone has been taking notes from Arcade Fire. If at times the whole image seems more than a little manipulative, this is still an album that continues to beguile and enchant on repeated listens; let’s hope, as the quote on the back cover puts it, that Yeasayer do help persuade the indie kids to get it together and outbreed the boring country Christians.
See you in 2080!