At first I didn’t quite grasp Yeasayer’s fractured, modernist, electronic Pop music, too much ice cream, not enough crust on the pie. Are they designed to unnerve or offer comfort, take you away from the nasty past and ween you into an inevitable future or are they trendy nerds messing with soundscapes or just normal 21st century youth doing what’s normal for their age group, that is inventing in their own way in that creative hotbed of Brooklyn. Or are they just loving The Beach Boys, beaming them to Mozambique and having them imprisoned by computers. Whatever it is, I just hope that it doesn’t end with more satisfaction from the idea than the listening, I appreciate everything about it, but do I like it? I’m still at the point of admiring their vision over being affected by their songs. Yes they are smart, rich, melodic, catchy and all backed by these rather clumsy African machines that are all nuts and bolts instead of skin and gourd.
Yeasayer have two skilful lead singers in Chris Keating and Anand Wilder, they also seem to be mostly responsible for the keyboard, sampler sounds and guitar with Ira Wolf Tuton in charge of anything bassy. They use a real live drummer, Cale Parks for gigs. It’s interesting how electronic bands happily program drums in the studio and have a real drummer live, realising something about the needed human element when there’s an audience but also realising it’s not necessary when in the studio. But Dub Reggae has that intriguing element too – a natural feel mixed with infinite echoes. There’s a love of Reggae music here, as well as music from the dark continent, all mixed together with processed digital information – soil and plug ins.
Yeasayer are World Music for harmonizing robots, and why shouldn’t our tin friends have an equal right to sing sweet melodies, do they really only have to be about bleeps and pings? They are the Martians from Trinidad, a microwave in a bush, a laser in the bread bin, smart cookies, genetically engineered fruit, honey covered pliers, a marching army of Soul troops disobeying the rules and adventuring into futuristic sonic heaven with tunes and ancient Pop concepts, elephants let loose in the fridge and breeding in the test tubes, spores on the bread, tasty neon biscuits, skilled manipulators, experimenting on the cat whilst teaching it to talk but for all the influence of black roots and reaching through the mercury into the fifth dimension, they sound very now and very white.
Yeasayer are lucky, they are free, free from the pressure of the future or the past, that is, it’s all an experiment and a captive audience of turned on youth dances to their beat of wires and flesh, one hopes that they don’t have half an eye on other artificial intelligence.
And then there’s the video – I Am Chemistry is from the forthcoming album, Amen & Goodbye expected in April.
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