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Album review: YYYs return with ‘Mosquito’

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The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ new album titled “Mosquito” will be available for purchase Tuesday. If you simply can’t wait to hear it, head to their website to find a video containing all 11 tracks as well as the band’s commentary about the recording process and meaning behind the songs. By talking about the thought process and the action behind the scenes by releasing it first on their website, the YYY’s have gained the respect of their fans by.

“Mosquito” starts off strong with lead singer Karen O’s haunting scream-sing in opening track “Sacrilege”. With lyrical content about sex, a roaring gospel choir and strong melodies, it is instantly apparent that the YYY’s are a different type of rock ‘n’ roll. Karen O performed this song in a yellow embellished pantsuit alongside her band mates during their performance on the David Letterman show earlier this week.

The YYY’s love and connection to their home, New York, is apparent in the second track “Subway,” which samples the rhythmic sound of the train. The band said that this is their only other song explicitly about New York besides b-side “Yeah New York.” The eerie lyrics over the pound of the train give the illusion of a foggy, rainy day. This song will resonate with DePaul students who live with their ears so close to the CTA ‘L’ trains and can’t seem to get that unique rhythm out of their heads.

In the middle of Texas lies Sonic Ranch, the recording studio in which most of “Mosquito” was recorded. The track bearing the same name as the album was influenced by the Southwestern environment. This tribal-sounding, ripping, fast, guitar-heavy track wakes you up after the previous lullaby.

The album then has its weakest track titled “Under the Earth.” The musicality is all over the place in this one. There is a slow bass, an echoing chorus, an electronic organ and some sort of sonic fuzz in the background. It seems to be the type of song you would march to if you were under exile. Although the band warned us that this album was going to be something different, this isn’t exactly the type of different one might be expecting.

Another weaker track is “Slave,” which has a similar pulsing bass as the previous song, but has a bit more melody. The middle of the album is definitely the weakest as it just seems to become a failed sonic experiment.

Fortunately, it picks up with track “These Paths,” which also draws inspiration from the Texas desert. Karen O gradually builds intensity through her vocals, resulting in a super powerful crescendo. With a rattling tambourine that resembles a rattlesnake and a snake-charming riff, this song takes the album in a completely new direction.

Aliens attack in “Area 52” – a garage-punk style song about guitarist Nick Zinner’s obsession with extraterrestrials. It has a glam-punk stamp and one can only imagine the types of fashions Karen O might wear onstage for this number.

“Buried Alive” is a less notable track, but it will be enjoyed by those who enjoy the combination of rap and rock. Dr. Octagon is featured on this track towards the end, right as it seems to be falling apart. The riff is accompanied by Karen O’s yelps and whines ranging from high and low pitches throughout this song.

The next three songs are some of the most lighthearted and inspirational on the entirety of “Mosquito” and save it from taking too dark of a turn. “Despair” fools us into thinking that it might be another sad tune, but it is, in fact, the contrary. The lyrics advise us to keep moving on and to learn how to have joy by loving those who have always been there for us.

“Always” and “Wedding Song” are Karen O’s songs for her husband, director Barnaby Clay. “Always” is an engagement song, and has a mystical, fun and romantic feeling. Her vocals on this track almost mirror that of Gwen Stefani’s. “Wedding Song” comes in with beautiful lyrics and sample sounds from the birds that were around the recording studio. The end of the album brings new life to Mosquito and proves that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a versatile band. Unfortunately, the band is not going to be at Lollapalooza this year, but you can catch the YouTube livestream of their performance at Coachella in California. You can also see them perform amongst a strong lineup at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Del.

This album is strongly recommended for those who already love the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (their style has remained much of the same), have a love for funky rock instrumentals and electronic influences and are looking for powerful vocals to be belted out in the shower.

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Album review: YYYs return with ‘Mosquito’