Yeah Yeah Yeahs have always seemed to be fashionably art school cool. It therefore comes as no surprise to find that with synth bands back in vogue, their new album It‘s Blitz is loaded with keyboard sounds. It marks a departure for the group, helping them deliver a very of the moment record. Immaculately produced by TV On The Radios David Sitek, It’s Blitz sees Karen O and her two footmen get scrubbed up and glossily polished. For the most part this less abrasive, less punk sound works well. From the taught pulsing Moroder electronics of lead single Zero to the heady ambient minimalism of ballad Skeletons, there are a number of songs that stand up as some of their best work. Highlight is Heads Will Roll which starts like an early nineties swirling synth rave classic before Karen O delivers her yelping killer commandment; “Off with your head, dance till you’re dead.” No doubt it will be vibrating sweaty indie dance floors in the next few months. Not every song pays dividends though. The jangly Dragon Queen is a funky experiment gone wrong, sounding like a CSS B side. It’s a step too far with a weak tune.
The overall tone of It’s Blitz is more mellow and consistent than either of their two previous albums. It is less raw, with a significant number of slower songs. Whilst the synths dominate, there are some guitars in the mix. There is plenty of riffing fury on Dull Life which motors along at a rate of knots. Shame And Fortune also has dirty repetitive guitar slashed right across its core.
It’s Blitz is a coherent piece of work that shows a band moving forward, still sparkling with some new ideas and a waft of experimentation. It’s not by any means perfect but provides enough to excite old fans and maybe bring in some new ones as well.