Four years have passed since the Yeah Yeah Yeahs blessed us with the release of their last album, It’s Blitz!, which easily climbed its way to the top of numerous best-of lists in 2009. Yet the world could only handle so many remixes of “Heads Will Roll” before it began to crave new music from the group.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs


Hoping for a change in sound, the group snatched up producers such as TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek and LCD Soundstystem’s James Murphy on it’s latest effort, Mosquito. The result is a scattered album with tracks containing everything from a gospel choir to hints of reggae and a sample taken from the subway (like the train, not the fast food sandwich place — though maybe the band could file that idea away for the next album).

Despite all of the obvious efforts to cultivate a new style, the group comes up short of reaching its goal, as Mosquito still clearly resembles as a Yeah Yeah Yeahs album (albeit a lackluster one). Certain tracks such as “Slave” and “Despair” serve as unintentional filler tracks with uninspired sounds — making a number of songs go almost unnoticed on the album.

Though the group pulls in a variety of new elements for the album, they don’t draw in listeners as the band probably anticipated. Sure, everyone loves a good backing gospel choir like the one the band brought in for the album’s lead single, “Sacrilege,” but the experimental and organic elements like the noise of a subway car on “Subway” or the birds on “Wedding Song” don’t provide as much allure as they probably hoped, instead serving as simple background sounds.

So Mosquito has its flaws, but the Yeah Yeah Yeahs still prove incapable of making a bad album. Lackluster? Maybe. Bad? Never. The title track, “Mosquito,” rocks as hard as we’ve come to expect from the group with Karen O belting the lyrics, “I’ll suck your blood!” in true Karen O fashion. While the lyrics are lackluster, O’s classic persona shines through, giving the song its appeal.

And of course, this review would be nothing without mention of rapper Dr. Octagon’s appearance on the James Murphy-produced “Buried Alive.” The collaboration of one of hip hop’s most abstract figures with the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs provides the most obscure and enthralling part of the album. Octagon’s hip-hop contribution gives life and character to the track and will easily garner the attention of an unfazed listener.

Is Mosquito the follow up to It’s Blitz! everyone’s been dreaming of for the past four years? Unfortunately, not quite. But the Yeah Yeah Yeahs clearly put in a solid effort to take risks and try something new, and, according to moms everywhere, that alone is worth something. Maybe in the next four years, they’ll figure out what that something is.

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