Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs Track: "Soft Shock" Album: It's Blitz! Listen
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs can do no wrong in the eyes of the hippest music fans, who oddly seem to cheerlead the band's monumental success. For a normal band, selling some records and grabbing a few national covers mean an end to cred; Karen O and co. could appear in People, and fans just think it's cute, well-deserved and a little overdue.
That's fine by me. This is a sweet band, and I care nothing for that type of petty politics. Their latest record, out yesterday, is another example of them re-inventing gritty synth-pop and then playing it better than everyone else. Though fierce, it has amazing focus, coherence, restraint and delicacy.
On any other band's album, "Soft Shock" would be a cool down -- the calm after the storm, a receding tide, maybe a little boring. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs know no such thing. Even this track is harsh and calculated, edgy even with softer vocals and a synthesizer that's not causing migraines. Competing background riffs and the most gentle vibe sounds work even more depth into a pulsing masterpiece that could stand alone with its surface power.
Plus, I can see this album cover going down in rock history with others that work because they appear simple but are actually weird and delicately staged. These include: No Pussyfooting, Fripp & Eno Ambient 1/Music for Airports, Brian Eno Aladdin Sane, David Bowie