Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
It's a little daunting to take on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as one wrong word about Karen O would no doubt cause legions of art-punks to gather outside my local coffee-shop and just GLARE at me; of course, they'd ask me for spare change first, but THEN, well, it'd be ON...
They needn't worry, however, as 'Show Your Bones' proves to be a surprisingly mature work for a group that wore it's brattiness on its sleeve. Opener 'Gold Lion' reflects this evolution, reworking Love & Rockets' 'No New Tale To Tell' into something new while Karen O supplants scenester callousness with almost child-like fanciful imagery, the likes of which continue to show up throughout the album. She's not the only one trying on new clothes, either, as guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase have created a sound that's richer and more complex than they've been known for; nor would it be correct to say that the frenetic energy that's prevalent on earlier recordings (especially the delicious 'Fever To Tell') is missing - instead it's been rechanneled, focused instead into the burlesque stomp of 'Phenomena' or the whimsical heartbreak of 'Dudley'. Even more notable is 'Cheated Hearts', a song that seems more powerful because of its simplicity, not despite it, as Chase's driving backbeat and Zinner's one-note riffs push O's lyrics of personal reclamation to a level where the listener does indeed feel 'bigger than the sound'.
It's not a perfect album by any means; the last third of the album falters, veering dangerously close to boring, as songs such as 'Mysteries', 'The Sweets' and 'Warrior' sound as if they could've been written by anyone, certainly not a band as reputably singular as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs; but things are salvaged by the strangely sweet 'Turn Into', a song that translates acoustic pop into something weirdly operatic at times.
If anything, 'Show Your Bones' is an album about heartbreak and recovery, sometimes even about peeling back the scab on old wounds to let the new flesh breathe a little; it's also satisfyingly bold, as most of their contemporaries (The Strokes, for one) seem unrepentant in their stagnancy - and despite a few missteps, it's refreshing to see that anyone can show signs of growing up, even New York art-punks.
I'm still not giving them my spare change, though...
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