The Yeah Yeah Yeahs Push the Limit with a New Direction on “Cool It Down”
New York's Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been gone for long enough for their return to be considered a reformation; they're bringing back all the old favorites, and fans couldn't be more appreciative. Longtime listeners have likely grown fonder of the three since the release of their previous album, Mosquito, over a decade ago.
This time around, synthesizers take center stage throughout all eight tracks, yet Karen O's distinctive meow remains. They can make for a groovy, danceable track, but more often than not, they're stacked for dramatic effect.
The Yeahs released the first successful song as a group in 2003 with "Maps," and they continued to experiment with each album they released until they reached their creative zenith with 2009's "It's Blitz," which included an unexpectedly heavy electronic emphasis. The trio recorded one more, rockier album in 2013 called "Mosquito" (which largely fulfilled their major-label contract), and then virtually went on sabbatical afterward.
Since then, guitarist Nick Zinner has scored films and worked with Phoebe Bridgers and Songhoy Blues, and drummer Brian Chase has started his own label. It's not unheard of for bands to embark on extended hiatuses; nevertheless, after reforming for a tour in 2017 and, five years (and a worldwide pandemic) later, releasing a reunion album that continues their development by delivering a stronger, more seasoned take on their former sounds, is something to see.
"Spitting Off the Edge of the World" is one of their best songs, and it kicks off the album. It features a guest appearance by Perfume Genius (a.k.a. Mike Hadreas), who adds some David Bowie-esque touches to the song's soaring vocals by Karen, a wall of guitars by Zinner, and whipcrack percussion by Chase. The album then takes off in all directions, though it frequently returns to a condensed version of "It's Blitz" and the symphonic vibe of "Lux Prima" and brandishes a big symphonic hook.
This album interpolates ESG and features a fat-fuzzed-out guitar riff and a consistent but tastefully varied soundscape was crafted by co-producers Justin Raisen, Andrew Wyatt, and TV on the Radio veteran Dave Sitek (who has worked with the band for almost their entire career).
At eight songs over just over half an hour in length, it doesn't overstay its welcome. It is well worth listening to.
(Listen to full album below)