Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It’s Blitz
James McDonald 11/04/2009
Disclaimer: I will not, as is common practice in such positions, be comparing the YYYs third full-length to their previous releases. Apologies where due. This is partially because the band themselves have asked all listeners to consume It's Blitz with new ears, leaving all preconceptions at the door, as we are told to brace for a rebirth. Predominantly, and more honestly, it's because the LP doesn't really compare, in both quality and stature. If you're looking for the dirty guitars that were so prominent on Fever To Tell, you'd be hard pushed to find one here. If, however, you're hoping for the kind of sensitivity portrayed with such enviable aplomb in Show Your Bones, you may be a little more satisfied here, although not altogether fulfilled. Here's why:
Zero, the album's opener, and the first sign of life we've had from the band since their Is Is EP appeared abruptly in mid 2007, is retrospectively an adroit revelation as to the direction the band seem to be headed. But where do you stand with this track? For me, its' four and a half minutes never really go anywhere. No big chorus, no avant-garde guitar noise, and, most distressingly, not one orgasmic and euphoric bleat from Miss O. And worryingly this trend will continue, no less with Heads Will Roll - a watered down Prodigy B-side never really living up to a title which initially held so much promise amidst the tracklisting. So then, if this pair were supposed to be the 'hard-hitters' on the Yeahs new album, they have left me confused and heavily disappointed at the fact they haven't left me in the back of an ambulance, dizzy and disorientated.
Furthermore, tracks like Runaway and the releases' closer Little Shadow, sentimental though they may be, leave little impression, and even when Skeletons recreates the kind of atmosphere Sigur Ros boast effortlessly, it's still rather dreary and uninspiring as a whole. At this point, the prosecution rests.
Saving graces then? Well, Dull Life, although a little Tsunami Bomb meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in places, is both frantic and rampant in a pleasing harmony, whilst Dragon Queen oozes bourgeois chic in Vekable measures. Similarly All Fortune is a bullish piece, and is about as discordant as the LP gets, without every really leaving its' melodic shackles behind. Soft Shock also offers further hope for a resurrection; it's cutesy and twee, simply detailed with reverse guitar and progressive synth, assuring it'll be one of the tracks you'll go back to once this whole unfortunate saga is over.
But this, in context, does little to revive a listener from a very disappointing outing. I have the utmost respect for Karen O and the other Yeahs for burning their original blueprints and scattering the remaining ashes, along with a generous handful of glitter, all over their new sound. However it's done little in reigniting a penchant I once had for this band, and I fear that this is a widespread opinion as a whole. It's hard imagining how this material will stand up alongside their previous arsenal within the spectacle that is their live set, so they at least have a good few summer months to win us back o'er. But it'll take far more than a few sequin dresses and throwback haircuts to mask such a miss on the hit-o-meter.
Release date: 13/04/09