Album Review... Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito

Veterans Karen O, Brian Chase and Nick Zinner are back with their fourth album in the 10th year from the publication of their first album “Fever To Tell”. They say first impressions are often the truest, and the unveiling of the cover for “Mosquito” was a shocking one. Most of the fans, (and I include myself among them) freaked out when we saw the controversial design of Beomsik Shimbe Shim. Of course, something that we love about Yeah Yeah Yeahs is their capacity to be different and surprising; but maybe that was too much.

Fortunately, originality plays another role when it comes to the album itself. Eleven songs with the production of David Sitek and Nick Launay offer a lo-fi collage of their past works together with some new experimentation. The album will be officially released on the 15th of April but a full-album stream with track-by-track commentaries is already available online.

"Sacrilege", the first track released as a single and the first track of the album, was named Best New Track by Pitchfork. The song was written when the band was in New Orleans, and by picking up the religious tradition of gospel and mixing it with Karen O’s voice, they created this brilliant anthem. The second track, "Subway" is the most hypnotic and involving song in the album. It depicts an everyday routine moment for most of us and softly sends us to sleep into our consciousness using the metro rattle sample as a lullaby. The track that gives name to the album, "Mosquito" suddenly wakes us up immediately, as the bite of a mosquito itself would do in the middle of the night. Whispered and called by Karen’s whispering, the mosquito is invoked by the drums to “suck your blood”. Pay attention because you’ll be able to hear even a mosquito buzzing. The next tracks, half-decided between softness, sexuality and intensity, balance the high and low moments of the album. They aren’t as attractive as the other tracks at first listen, but surely grow after a few times. "Under The Earth", evokes one of the dark corners of the streets of New York. It slows down the rhythm and brings up experimentation with random sounds. Following its vibe, "Slave" brings back It’s Blitz! sounds, with a synth beginning, an engaging guitar presence and an appealing rhythm, it makes us slaves in the search of the final climax begging: “keep me, keep me”.

"These Paths" experiments with the adding of layers based on a sample of six notes repeated through all the song. This track enjoys the highest registers in Karen’s voice so my advice is to savour it and don’t try to sing it at home.

Nick’s riff begins "Area 52"; an emergency call that ends up sweaty and aggressively. Every time I listen to it, I imagine the video version of it, an action 80s movie, green liquid blood and enormous OVNI over our heads maybe? This alien invasion is, together with Mosquito and Buried Alive, the rock ingredients in the album taking us back to their first album sounds.

The collaboration with Dr Octagon in "Buried Alive" results in an interesting horror atmosphere, it has been slightly rejected by some fans, but from my point of view, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’s guest (together with producer James Murphy) matches successfully the album’s expectations. Concluding the album, "Always", described as an engagement song by Karen O, echoes, simple and direct. A minimalistic lyric, music based song that brings "Despair", the Hysteric equivalent. These last pieces end the album emotionally and beautifully together with "Wedding Song".

There is something for everyone and also something from every of their previous works. As a whole, it has some mood swings not recommended for a non-stop listening from beginning to end of the record, but if you are looking for a song to match your romantic spirit, an energy injection, or a dark, horror movie night, Mosquito will have what you need.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito
Out of 10: 7/10

Written by - Belén Martínez Saiz

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