Yeah Yeah Yeahs + Phoenix | Track reviews
Neo-garage trio’s new gospel and a French band’s Asian-themed arena-filler.
Published: March 7, 2013
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
In interviews, Karen O describes a “lo-fi” approach to Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ forthcoming Mosquito, suggesting a possible return to the dingy neo-garage reveled in on the group’s breakout Fever to Tell. Yet the new album’s first single, “Sacrilege,” stays on the dance-friendlier trajectory that the band’s followed in the decade since. The slow-building cut rides Brian Chase’s driving, in-the-pocket groove, punctuated by O’s yelps and Nick Zinner’s tremolo-flecked guitar stabs. The sound is unmistakable but otherwise kinda ho-hum until a couple of minutes in. Then it explodes with a chorus of gospel singers whose thick, throbbing vibrato coalesces around an earnest O, moaning “and I plead, and I pray,” before the instruments are peeled away. Meanwhile, the lush choir continues to breathe fiery intensity into her words, calling to mind Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” But unlike Madge, Yeah Yeah Yeahs aren’t courting controversy. They’re getting lost in the moment.