Aftermath: Yeasayer's Tribal Future Shock And Benevolent Manipulation At HOB
|Photos by Groovehouse|
Your brain balls bounce to the bang-bang as you skip through the flash fantastic and your goo-goo ears drip dreamlike while they try to find your face and your tongue stays tied in a twist fist spooning sinews just attacked by a snare snake made of sound leaving little time to ask, "Where the fuck am I?" Yeasayer - the Tootsie pop made of drug tests. Give it a lick.
They are a band independent of genre-izing, one that loosely resembles David Byrne dressed up in robot clothes dancing in the dark jungle of a city center, trying to read a supra-modern love story that takes place in a popcorn popper while the main character is wiggling his fingers to the beats of tomorrow.
But really, it's hard to place them squarely anywhere - people have long called Yeasayer Afro-pop, and people keep insisting that they're now acid-rock; either that or straight electro with tinges of gospel infusion. It's a dubious proposition to try and label them, though, because when you do, another song comes on and you forget what you were saying just now and c'mon let's move our feet to rhythm of the weird.
When Houston last saw Yeasayer, they seemed a collection of artists a bit unsure of their place in the overly saturated mind of the indie listener, mostly relying on the hook of a tribal beat set to the reliability of an audience ready to chant how alcohol chants - which isn't to say that their first record, All Hour Cymbals, wasn't one of the most enjoyable records in years, because it was. But those old shows felt a bit myopic compared to what they gave us Friday night at a raucous House of Blues. After trading their previous drummer, Luke Fasano, for the mirroring cadences of new drummers Ahmed Gallab and Jason Trammell, Yeasayer is becoming complete. And it shows in their choice of set list, now regularly playing only three or four songs from the first album - songs that stand seamlessly next to the riffiness of material from 2010's brilliant Odd Blood. The always popular and immensely singable "Wait for the Summer," "2080" and "Sunrise" were wrapped tightly around new favorites "Ambling Alp," "I Remember" and "Rome."
But the reason Yeasayer has become what Aftermath wants to say is the single greatest band in the history of the universe, is the interplay between co-lead vocalists Chris Keating and Anand Wilder - something that wasn't there on All Hour Cymbals, but come to find out, something that turns a great record into love. Keating and Wilder trade computerized lyrical punches like a Mac versus a Macbook, forcing the audience to pick sides between the future and what comes after the future.
The way they manipulate the intonation of guitar fuzz and dueling drums and use it to smack the shit out of our post-T-Pain world of Auto-tune redundancy is something that feels original even though it probably isn't, but who really cares because it's all about the feeling, kid? Back and forth they sing, forgetting any semblance of participatory repartee, Keating taking lead during the first third of the show with songs like "The Children," "Rome," and Dark Was the Night's "Tight Rope" - a song that perfectly embodies what it means to understand regret, in the context of only regretting you didn't say "Fuck off" sooner. Wilder then takes over with "Madder Red" and "O.N.E.," reminding us that, obviously, lines should be taken in pairs. The coaction of Keating and Wilder is what really sets Yeasayer apart from the rest of the exploding bubble of electronic indie-rock copycats, though, and is what will make them remain stuck in your mind. Over time. Forever.
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