Wednesday, August 29, 2012

YEASAYER - Fragrant World

Shaman, my brother, convinced me to go to a Yeasayer show in 2010.  I did some slight research on the band before the concert and was fond of One and Madder Red from the album Odd Blood.  Beyond these pieces, I had mild expectations for the evening.  Yeasayer opened with Strange Reunions, and the musical experience that I endured was unimaginable.  Anand Wilder sang the melody, and he had the most impressive voice of any rock musician that I have heard to this date.  I developed a man-crush for Wilder, but I was thoroughly impressed with the entire band.  August 21st, 2012 marked the release of their third album, Fragrant World, so I thought we should explore.  

Yeasayer released two of the album tracks, Henrietta and Longevity, before Fragrant World was available.  Let's start there.  Longevity begins with an interesting synth that has a stripped feeling.  This serves as thematic material that returns in varying forms.  The vocal melodies are nice, and Chris Keating's voice sounds pure.  Although I do not feel compelled to give it many repeat listens, it is an interesting piece of music.  I identify Longevity as a good album track but not a greatly marketable single.

Henrietta is a completely different realm to walk within.  A cool shuffling melody leads into a very solid verse.  It makes you want to move, dance, fornicate, or anything else.  Chris Keating also sings this track.  His voice is not epic like Anand, but it is undeniably attractive.  "Oh Henrietta, we can lay around forever." is the repeating line in the song's gorgeous ending (the ending is actually the majority of the piece).  It sounds like Wilder and Keating are singing together at this point and they make you feel as though you are falling in love with dear Henrietta.  The ending builds with small percussion to a grandiose bass line and then more percussion.  Is this registering with you?  If ever you believed me when I said you should listen to a piece of music, you should believe me now.  Henrietta also does not sound like a normal type of marketable single, but it is one of my favorite instances of art in the universe.  She is beautiful.  

Fragrant World opens with Fingers Never Bleed.  The old Sayer kicks it off strongly.  Fingers is sentimental, which I find to be one of Yea's primary qualities in their discography.  Another example of this is Ambling Alp from Odd Blood.  At this point, I have still barely explained the genre.  I see the band as definitive electronic pop with clear degrees of originality and intellect.  Sometimes it feels like rock and roll with use of electric guitar and electric bass.  Others refer to them as "psychedelic" but that does not register with my ear as an accurate description.  Their third album refuses to stray from the genres they have used on the previous releases, but it is naturally progressive in new directions of sound-creation.  

I am going through my second full listen of Fragrant World as I finish this review.  New layers open up with additional plays.  This album is not the same kind of material that we have seen from Yeasayer in the past.  If you are looking for another Odd Blood, you may be disappointed.  If you are an individual that likes to evaluate musical composition and ingenuity, this is the place to reside!  The sexy voice of Anand Wilder (pictured above) is also a plus any day of the week.  

Listen to Henrietta:
Fragrant World is available on Spotify  

SACHEM ORENDA's third album, Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge, is now available.           

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