Brooklyn boys Yeasayer’s latest effort is an unashamed adventure into the much-explored land of pop. However, the kind of pop the record offers is less clear. Whether this is art-pop, synth-pop or electro-pop is open to debate; I could continue listing unnecessary and slightly pretentious labels for sub genres without finding a suitable home for Odd Blood and it’s this unorthodoxy that gives the album its charm.
The record, the band’s second, offers a dense wall of sound from the outset, utilising the most unlikely instrumental combinations throughout. The opener, ‘The Children’, is a mix of pianos and synths and trumpets and drums and guitars and vocals, creating a patchwork of sonic tapestries without sounding messy or overdone. The eccentricity of the ditty is exacerbated by the warped vocals that sound like Thom Yorke’s voice sped up and slowed down and then superimposed on top of each other. Wonderful stuff. ‘Madder Red’ exemplifies the record’s penchant for catchy hooks, with an ‘ooooh ooooh’ vocal sounding intermittently, before reverberating round your head for the following week. The sonically epic sounding drums are straight out of a Tears For Fears song with their unimaginable amount of reverb and synthy sound.
This 80s influence is a feature throughout the record that frequently borrows from the past. Yet it never falls into pastiche, and it instead it achieves the rare feat of sounding both retro and fresh simultaneously as shown in ‘ONE’, which is a contender for song of the decade so far (granted we’re only a few weeks in). African, tribal sounding drum rhythms oscillate throughout, uniting with eccentric synths and Eurhythmics style vocal lines to produce a track that’ll make you dance. A lot.
To me, the most attractive feature of Odd Blood is its optimistic feel (which delves into euphoria on the odd occasion). It’s unapologetically uplifting, and despite it occasionally being so hyper you feel you may have a seizure, it never fails to disappoint.