Odd Blood

Brooklyn’s Yeasayer emerged at a time when bands like Animal Collective and TV On the Radio had already spent years re-imagining indie rock. Chirps, whooshes and beeps swirled through the right and left channels of headphones as basses, guitars and drums took a backseat to MacBooks, synths and effects boxes strung together by a Medusa’s head of cables. Hipster obsession ensued. Yeasayer’s 2007 debut, All Hour Cymbals, managed to meld the robotic with the organic, while sneaking enough hooks in to keep things from becoming too wanky. Odd Blood has its moments … but they’re literally only moments. The first single, “Ambling Alp”—released well before the record—is a comely pop song where the hook is complemented by the group’s arsenal of bleeps and bloops and Chris Keating’s deep-chested vocals. The rest of the album strips anything human or charming from the equation. Noise and synths run rampant while melodies and the instrumentation of their debut run scared. It almost feels as if tinkering with a roomful of toys became more compelling than writing actual songs. Must’ve been a blast to make, it just doesn’t translate to the listener.