CD review: Yeasayer’s ‘Fragrant World’
Wed, Aug 22, 2012 (3:52 p.m.)
- Fragrant World
Although Yeasayer’s first album, 2007’s All Hour Cymbals, was full of psych-folk mysticism and campfire rhythms, the Brooklyn band went in a far more interesting direction with 2010’s Odd Blood—namely, Tears for Fears-indebted prog-pop full of sinewy synths and geometric beats. The group builds on this darker shading—and delves further into contorted electronic music—on the compelling Fragrant World. “Devil and the Deed” segues from jump-rope-cadenced beats and icy keyboard stabs to a brittle soul chorus; falsetto vocals and hiccupping production give heart to the R&B slo-mo jam “Longevity”; robotic voice manipulation (and what sounds like a sample from the NES chestnut Dr. Mario) distorts the fractured disco-funk of “No Bones”; and Duran Duran-esque harmonies and slinky glam melodies bubble through “Demon Road.” The disorienting juxtaposition of rhythms, textures and technology isn’t always easy to digest, but it pushes genre boundaries and conventions in exciting, challenging ways.