Release Review: “Mosquito”- Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Album, available now

Watching the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform the title track to the recently released ‘Mosquito’, their forth studio album, I find myself overcome by the inescapable fact that, at no point in my life will I ever be as cool as front-woman Karen O.
Oh, Karen, oh Karen O, with your hipster specs (non prescription, presumably), your numerous, superfluous accessories (be-glittered knee pads, anyone?) and a haircut so angular it would give Picasso pause for thought. In the iconic form of the erstwhile Ms Orzolek, the New York indie pioneers posses a front woman with a cutting edge so sharp, adult supervision may well be required.
But beneath all that shimmer and sheen, all the theatrics and wild costumes, there’s a real substance to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs sound that’s seen them win both critical and commercial plaudits alike, and deservedly so. Whilst a large part of that success can be attributed to the banshee-like vocal skills of the aforementioned Ms O, to suggest this alone provides the sole point of interest would be to deliberately mislead, for there are many tracks on this new album that clearly demonstrates the group’s aptitude for writing great and lasting rock music.
In actual fact, ‘Mosquito’ is the Yeahs “soul” album, according to Orzolek herself, and judging from opening track ‘Sacrilege’, itself a slow-rising yet frenetic fusion of garage punk and gospel choir, perhaps she should be taken at her word. Mind you, with songs such as the heavily effects laden ‘Area 52’ or ‘Buried Alive’, with it’s guest appearance from Dr Octogon, Karen’s claims do appear to be tested somewhat. But then along comes the beautiful “Subway”, a dreamy echo of a tune, and with it’s clever emulation of a rhythmic locomotive chug, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s showcase the versatility and penchant for experimentation that’s helped their sound to remain fresh and relevant.
6/10, out now, Ed Kirby
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