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Friday, 23 November 2012

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - EP (2002)

The first track I ever heard by Yeah Yeah Yeahs was ‘Bang’; I remember hearing it on the radio whilst travelling up the M6 from Stoke to Cumbria and being immediately taken in by the dirty funk riffs and the intensity of Karen O’s vocal performance.

‘Bang’ is the opener to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ self-titled EP. It still sounds as fresh and energetic as when I first heard it. The guitars and vocals are soaked in a somewhat metallic vintage reverb sound. It’s a song that sounds incredibly rough and passionate, and has an atmosphere that Yeah Yeah Yeahs never really captured after this. With stop-start funk riffs and an infectious drum-beat, this song showcases the vigour that made Yeah Yeah Yeahs such an exciting band when they first burst onto the indie scene over a decade ago.

‘Mystery Girl’ seems to take its influence from the 12-bar-blues tinged guitar melodies of everyone’s favourite dad rock band, Status Quo. But this is Status Quo after being dragged through the mud after an all night party: the song is grubby and occasionally discordant, with off-key guitar scrapes and Karen O’s distorted vocals almost crying breathlessly into the microphone by the end of the song.

‘Art Star’ has always struck me as a little odd. The verse is held together by a relaxed funk guitar riff that would have made George Clinton turn his head, but then hits you with a chorus that seems to take its lead from some of Lightning Bolt’s noisier moments, with Karen O screaming ‘Art Star’ over a barrage of drum and guitar rumbles. At times this song is incredibly witty, with cutting satirical observations about the vapid nature of the New York art scene, but the chaos and noise of the chorus just seems to drag the rest of the song down with it.

‘Miles Away’ is excellent, with its inspiration seemingly coming from Welsh post-punk act Young Marble Giants, with its verse made of subtle chugging guitar sounds before breaking out into the intense rock that became synonymous with Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ early sound. It’s a great track that doesn’t get played enough.

EP-closer ‘Our Time’ sounds as though it could have been recorded in the late-1960s, with a clear nod to bands like the Velvet Underground, the 13th Floor Elevators, and Tommy James and the Shondells, with its slow deliberate chord changes, and thumping echoic drums that could have easily been pounded out by Moe Tucker.

Aside from the chorus of ‘Art Star’, this is a brilliant EP, and one that I won’t be getting rid of any time soon.

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Anonymous said...

great review, glad you're still keeping on with the blog

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