When we reviewed Odd Blood, the album by Brooklyn trio Yeasayer last month we called it a “decent and often absorbing electronic progressive-pop record,” but criticised its lack of great melodies or catchy hooks. A month on and we suggest that our original opinion was a little hasty. Whilst Odd Blood is far from perfect, it has some of those old fashioned qualities of being a bit of a grower. Some of the songs that we felt lacked cranium drilling ability have slowly holed their way in. It would seem that Odd Blood is doing the business with others as well - this Yeasayer gig being upgraded to the bigger Digital after the originally booked Brighton Audio had an early sell out.
Digital itself is not the ideal place for live gigs. Although the PA system copes admirably, obscured vision lines from structural columns and the rooms oppressive nightclub darkness seem to influence the crowd. There’s a more muted reaction than may be expected. However, blame can not only be placed on the inhospitable architecture; the band are the central cog here and tonight Yeasayer are simply functional. The new songs should bring more - more emotion, more power, more excitement, more dancing. Every track is competently played and performed, with main singer Chris Keating throwing some jittery hand shapes for good measure but it still lacks. It’s like stepping in voyeuristically on a well-married couple having sex. They know how things work, what to do, but there’s no heightened state of orgasmic euphoria.
It’s only on the funky Italian-house piano tropicalisms of Love Me Girl that the band move beyond the average to the transcendental and Ambling Amp unsurprisingly gets the biggest cheer of the evening. Yet it speaks volumes when the band have to jokingly chastise a photographer for taking more pictures of somebody in the audience than the band themselves. Despite the ambitious range of ideas on display, or maybe because of it, the attention is not firmly held.
“You guys have been great,” Yeaysayer announce at the end. We wish we could shout the same back, but we would feel a little bit awkward admitting to the group that unfortunately it was only faultlessly average.