It’s difficult doing a review of one of the most popular indie bands in the world, especially one in which, I as the reviewer, am such a fan of. If you have ever seen the YYY’s do their thing live, then you know what I am talking about. Since the YYY’s burst onto the scene with 2003’s “Fever To Tell” they have been one of the more interesting bands around, and in “Mosquito”, the band’s fourth full length effort, they continue to evolve and dip their toes into uncharted waters, using a gospel choir and a guest rap appearance by Dr. Octagon in one song.
And while I give the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s for dabbling in new sounds, in this case, being innovative and discovering new ground is the musicians version of an archaeological dig that came up with more hardened horse apples than anything of tremendous value. I realize that’s a blasphemous thing to say about an indie heavyweight that has given the music world so much good music, but if the YYY’s were just starting out and “Mosquito” was their debut album, I guarantee it wouldn’t get the critical love that it’s likely to get.
The album begins with single ‘Sacrilege’, which already hasn’t stood the test of time with me. I’ve really only heard it about five or six times, and am already losing interest. Second track ‘Subway’ is a sleepy affair that uses the recording of a subway going over it’s tracks looped throughout the song. Interesting idea in theory. In reality, it’s boring. The song actually finishes with about 30 to 40 seconds of the subway loop on it’s own. Third, and title track, ‘Mosquito’ recalls some of YYY’s earlier days, and brings an energy sorely needed after ‘Subway’. ‘Under the Earth’ uses some intriguing glitches of sound, but is soundly living in Averagetown. ‘Slave’ sounds like the type of song title that would be right in Karen O’s wheelhouse, however, it sounds like an “It’s Blitz” outtake that didn’t make the last album, and ultimately just sounds tired. ‘Area 52’ and ‘Buried Alive’ are ridiculous additions to the YYY’s catalog, I actually laughed at these songs.
I think if you are a huge fan of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s you are most likely going to like the album, as we all tend to make excuses for bands we love. Undoubtedly you will praise them for doing something different and continuing to evolve. That’s fair, I do give bands credit for that, but I miss the energy and the brattiness that Karen O. used to bring to the table on every track. Even in the classic down tempo track ‘Maps’ from “Fever To Tell” there was an epic quality, sadness in abundance, despite the sparse musical arrangement. Karen O’s voice and attitude were an instrument to themselves.
Personally, I just don’t feel the heart of “Mosquito”. Even the album cover is cartoonish, and some of the tracks come off feeling the same way.