replete with lightboxes buoying their instruments and backlit by screens which pulsated the color spectrum to the myriad beats, yeasayer played their second sold out nyc show at mhow the night of the “blizzard”, which mercifully held off until later that night so that concert-goers disoriented by the light and sound storm of the last few hours weren’t sent stumbling and inebriated out into the dangerous wintry streets of new york. class actress (pretty good) & javelin (erm, best summed up by my friend who asked me in between songs, “is he being sarcastic?”) opened and yeasayer, one of brooklyn’s reigning bands at the moment, finally took the stage after allowing the pregnant pause to build the anticipation, arriving on stage amidst the light display like at the start of superman three. all three acts have a sense of humor, are authentic, sentimental and ironic, and heavily electronic and flashback music resonant, but only yeasayer made it into something inspired, progressive, and playful–and the consensus is we’re crushing hard on anand and totally game for making the mono-sleeve 2010’s look du jour.
maybe i listened to too much speak & spell or upstairs at eric’s back in the day, but something about the tenor of their new one sounds eerily familiar…songs about love, community, self-worth, eros and thanatos….this is not the terrain of their whirling dervish album, all hour cymbals, which sounded damn near mind-blowing when i first picked it up…atonal, off-beat, weird, stylized, tribal. yeasayer is avowedly not cool, and with this new album they are not cool by singing about love instead of dystopian dreams. the songs are ostensibly less experimental and complicated & all the more catchy and rhythmic for it: o.n.e., ambling alp, madder rose, mondegreen, the children, live, all had people entranced and swaying unlike the manic mood swings of all hour cymbals, the pendulum swinging from somnambulism to thrash. while other bands like animal collective, ghostland observatory, passion pit and mgmt unite disparate themes, experimentalism, 80s synthpop/dance, and wild riffs + caterwauling, only yeasayer seems to be reinventing itself and compelling us to await the third incarnation, defining their own sound as they go, shrugging off categorization.