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Show Your Bones is what happens when you put your finger in a light socket. Maybe there is some of that electric current flowing through the tracks of our album illuminating us from the inside out for you to laugh at and cry to or fry to. Features the single 'Gold Lion'. They will also be headling this years Coachella Music Festival. Interscope. 2006.
With Show Your Bones, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs follow up to the heralded Fever to Tell Karen O economizes on the screaming that so marked the trios debut EP. And oh how she exceeds her oft-noted influences (PJ Harvey and Chrissie Hynde, for two): Whether shes hanging back with a staggered beat on Phenomena, or riding on the kick-drum-pounded opening to Honeybear, shes always ready to disappear in a burst of Nick Zinners guitars and Brian Chases drums. The YYYs thrill precisely because of their keen mix, Karen O spiking the upper ranges (dig the caterwaul in Mysteries) with a sharply cut vocal line or a simple, full-bodied singsong delivery while the guitars spin thick storms of sound before retreating to atmospherics (try the transition from the quick throttle of Cheated Hearts into the Cure-ish "Dudley," for one example). And marvel at how well radio would be served by blasting the acoustic, pleading vibe of "Warrior." Fabulous. --Andrew Bartlett
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Show Your Bones is hardly Fever To Tell, but that's not a bad thing at all. On their 2nd release the YYY's sound a little tamed down, more mature, and slightly more focused.
There's something for everyone to like here. Fans of their debut album will feel right at home with tracks like "Cheated Hearts" (which is almost like a more subtle Y Control) then there's the extremely catchy first single, "Gold Lion" with it's sing-along chorus and sticks-in-your-head backing percussion. Speaking of which, the percussion is excellent all around on this cd, definitely one of the first things that caught my attention. If you buy this cd thinking it'll have all those signature Karen O shrieks and howls, you might be a little disappointed. But hopefully you'll give it a chance despite that, because this new slightly more calm Karen is just as appealing. It doesn't sound as if they're taking their 'old' sound and making it more quiet, it just sounds like they're controlling it much better and more artistically. It sounds like a really smart, well thought out progression- and although different, just as interesting to listen to.
"Fancy" will remind you of Fever To Tell, if anything for Karen's vocals here. There's a lot of new interesting experimental sounds, the obligatory ambiguous lyrics...generally just a lot to like.
"Way Out" - 2nd track off the cd following "Gold Lion", and appropriately so. she says "The face aint making what the mouth needs", and it's slick and jarring and you'll want to play it over and over. Definitely one of their best songs to date.
"Honeybear" - electro-punk rock YYY's style, if this song doesn't get you bobbing your head, something is seriously wrong. I don't even know what she's saying a lot of the time but it's great!
"Mysterious" - a fast paced nod to all the great rock of the past, sung almost 50's-60's style until she starts her awesome screaming. grabs a hold and makes you listen.
"Warrior" - this mystical and slightly lonely tamborine number almost recalls Mazzy Star circa "So Tonight That I Might See" in the beginning, minus...well, Hope Sandoval obviously. Karen says men might like her because she's a Warrior, then there's talk of roads and rivers, and travelling it all away. Shows a different side to the YYY's... mellow and introspective, definitely one of the strongest songs. Very good stuff.
"Turn Into" - Love it, love it, love it. Great way to finish off an extremely catchy & interesting cd. "Can't say why I kept this from ya / my those quiet eyes become ya" - when she sings this, it's endearing and cute and lovely.
I can't say that when I was first introduced to the YYY's I ever expected to hear honest, humble admissions. Let alone really catchy yet subtle melodies and choruses that bury themselves beneath my skin. But now I have, and it's most definitely an experience worth sharing and recommending to anyone who's a fan of just great rock music. There really isn't a bad song on the whole album.
With "Show Your Bones" the YYYs solidify their presence on the rock scene, and undeniably carve out their own signature slot void of any "PJ Harvey-Meets the White Stripes" comparisons.
This one of those CD's that every song is brilliant from the first song Golden Lion to the eleventh and last song Turn into. It's hard for me to pick a favorite sone because they are all outstanding.
There are some songs that remind me of the band White Stripes in terms of their sound and style. Some of the vocal styling that Karen uses also reminds me of Kate Pierson of the B52's and Debbie Harry of Blondie, but by and large their sound is unique to them.
Karen has toned down her vocals somewhat and I think that works very well for her and the band on this CD, she has a beautiful voice. On the cut Cheated Hearts she has a very sultry sexy style that really makes the song work. Brian Chase plays the drums in a style that really lends a backbone to the songs and Nick Zinner is great on keyboards and guitar All of the songs have a nice soul and passion to them and each song has its own personality to it. The music on the CD is very well done. This is a three musician band that has that kind of eclectic style that you get with three piece band but Brian Chase, Nick Zinner and Karen O's styles mesh so well together that their sound is so much bigger then that even in their live performances. It's an amazing blend instruments timing with the occasional random sound thrown in that makes the CD so interesting to listen to.
There is a nice booklet that comes with it that has pictures of different hand made flags, envelopes that someone has drawn on with some interesting personal art and a thank you to everyone that created a flag.
The CD mastered and engineered in a way that really highlights the bands style.
This is the best new release that I have come across in a while in the art-avant-punk-genre.
By now everyone knows "Gold Lion" (if you don't then I'm not sure how you happened upon this review). The song structure is perhaps the simplest in the YYY's catalogue, with the four chord progression continuing straight through the whole song without changing. Karen`s exquisite "ooh ooh`s" undoubtedly cement it`s lead single status. The solo is simplistic by Nick Zinner's standards, but that doesn't stop it from blasting off at you like a rocket ship. This is another psychedelic "pop" masterpiece from those who brought you "Maps."
"Fancy" starts out with pounding drums that immediately draw you in. Twenty seconds in the drums are joined by slow, heavy, pounding guitar chords that sound like if Sonic Youth covered a Link Wray instrumental. Then Karen joins in "I find it in the atlas/we're flipping over old news/check what's in the trash bag/we're just another part of you/we're just another part of you/I beg your pardon/beg your pardon/beg your pardon..." before letting loose a scream to rival "Art Star." This goes on for two verses before an incredibly liquid-sounding wah wah effect introduces the quieter bridge which serves as only a short hiatus before launching back to the slashing guitar and pounding drums of the intro, which slam you right home. This song is hardly being mentioned in reviews, which is criminal as it's one of the best on the album.
Next up we find Karen singing with her by now trademark charismatic self-assured attitude. Is she talking about herself in the chorus, or sarcastically putting someone down? Either way it's immediately a favorite and you can't help singing along with "you're something like a phenomena baby/something like a phenomena." The guitar here is almost brain-dead simple, in the tradition of early Neil Young - especially in the middle part of the song where Nick just keeps rhythmically hitting the same note about 50 times in a row.
"Honeybear" opens spectacularly with the bass drum pounding out a beat and Karen singing "turn yourself around/you weren't invited/good good things happen in bad towns" backed by a guitar that just doubles the melody she's singing, until the whole band crashes in and rocks along to the bridge. Brian Chase shows great chops in the middle breakdown, sounding like an heir to Charlie Watts' throne.
"Warrior" begins as a gentle, catchy acoustic ballad, but slowly speeds up and builds to anthemic status by the end. It also boasts perhaps the greatest lyrics Karen O has yet to pen.
"Now the strangers have caught on
And they're riding in the backseat.
The river's gonna watch all,
Yeah the river it spoke to me.
It told me I'm small,
And I swallowed it down.
If I make it at all,
I'll make you want me."
The most popular translation of the "strangers riding in the backseat" is that of people who finally caught on when the band hit it big with singles like "Maps" and now "Gold Lion," versus those of us who have championed the band from the first EP. However, I think the whole song is about the record industry. The strangers are really record execs who must have screwed the YYY's over in the past, when now they've turned out to be a success. Of course, not such a success as to rival pop giants that make record companies the real money, therefore the record industry here is the "river" telling Karen not to get a big head yet, she still is a relatively small fish.
"I know what I know" Karen tells us in the closer, "Turn Into." What is it that she knows? "I'd like to tell you all about it..." but she's interrupted by a simple Nick Zinner solo, augmented by an otherworldly fuzz effect that sounds like the noise you'd expect a UFO to make. His electric rhythm guitar work here is amazing as well, it took The Edge at least 10 years to get half this good. This is another slower, ballad-esque tune and closes the album perfectly.
When this first came out, the songs were so addicting it didn't leave my car's CD player for weeks. Now, months later, I am still listening to it in steady rotation. I may not have mentioned every track, but they are all good. The songwriting is much better and the musicianship, which has also been light years ahead of any of their contemporaries, is getting even more adventurous while at the same time getting simpler, if that were possible. A more pretentious music snob than myself would just complain that they've sold out, and proceed to list all the indie/underground bands that you've never heard of which the YYY's have supposedly "ripped off" (and I see quite a few indie snobs have done just that) but I prefer to let myself just enjoy damn good music when I hear it. Anyway, just listening to this album is enough every time to make me want to go postal worker on my boss for not letting me have the night off when these guys came to Cleveland last. There's no way I'm missing them next time around.
Number 1 being Souixxe and the banshees. I hear them in every note and somewhat in her voice. Great stuff though. I am partial to the original band, but this derivative, influence, and or just love of the band has great impact on their sound. History in music comes in 5 years of memory. I am so happy that, and not sure, they meant a tribute to Souixxe. All together a great melodic trip, and very powerful.
Well,my only recommendation here is that if you're a big fan of the YYY's (my theory is it'll take a lot of attachment to understand what they're doing here better),however excited or skeptical,find a large-ish sampling of mp3's (shouldn't be hard,they're everywhere) and do some thinking.My suggestions are:Modern Things,Mysteries,Dudley, and I'm thoroughly convinced that Cheated Hearts is likely the most beautiful song the YYY's or anyone really could ever have written.It makes my head hurt,it is so amazing and simple.Check it out,it's a good album,and even if you don't like all the songs,you're completely bound to love at least a few as the genre of the separate song themselves is surprisingly (in a great way) varied.It may seem,at first impression,rather anemic and overly melodic,but that could not be farther from any kind of truth.Some songs are very vocals/lyric oriented,others are still deranged and guitar-driven.It really is more deep and vast and really quite beautiful.