Yeasayer at the Vic Theatre | Concert preview
Brooklyn trio’s third album balances stark electronics and earnest indie.
Considering Yeasayer’s hacky-sack and drum-circle inclinations, it takes an exceptional lack of self-consciousness for the group to name its third album Fragrant World. After all, we know what that world smells like: weed and feet. Yet Yeasayer has earned the right to shake off any criticism, not because its music is above reproach or even consistently great, but because the Brooklyn band keeps broadening its base while staying engaged and open-minded in the studio.
If the group’s debut, All Hour Cymbals, reveled in globetrotting psych and its follow-up, Odd Blood, embraced pop, Fragrant World dips its Birkenstock-exposed toes into both worlds. However, this time the band frequently breaks down its songs into their starkest components, from exotic instruments to disorienting electronic throbs and pitter-patter percussion. There’s also a more pronounced emphasis on funky R&B, even if it’s a bit rich in its earnestness—there’s more than a little Depeche Mode in “Demon Road” and “Damaged Goods.” At least tracks like “Longevity” and “Blue Paper” balance the indulgent sonic goofery with sneaky melodies. For those who wish “Reagan’s Skeleton” had more balls than new wave blips and bloops, well, at least the band’s making an effort to remind us that the ’80s were about more than the politics of dancing.