Has Yeasayer Developed or Simply Changed Directions? 

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For much of the rest of the album, Yeasayer expermients with ideas on either side of the middle ground they reached on "Ambling Alp." In a way, "Madder Red" picks up where "The Children" left off—it's a seeming tribute to nerd-metal balladry, replete with spacy, "ooh-ooh" harmonies, an actual guitar solo, and cheeseball reverb all over the drums. The melody is effective, though, and while a full album's worth of this would be grating, it surprisingly pleasant in this small dose. The album's dark-horse standout track, "I Remember," is exactly the opposite—a gently pulsing beat completely awash in airy synths, with Keating's longing falsetto dancing on top of it. When he sings "You're stuck in my mind all the time," it's beautiful proof that simple, direct lyrics need not be limited to platitudes.

Odd Blood's second single, "ONE," kicks off a trio of songs that are basically no-nonsense, unabashed dance music. MGMT would be proud of this one, but so would Yaz. "Love Me Girl" is far less enjoyable, with a two-minute intro of uninspired 90s-style ravey-sounding stuff that would no doubt have the cast of Jersey Shore beating up the beat. Things pick up again with "Rome," a snappy, syhth-heavy track with a vocal hook that could have been lifted from The Head on the Door. They prove themselves remarkably adept at a fairly particular sound that will surely win them more fans than it causes them to lose.

It is a huge departure, though, and not to begrudge them their right to change, but its hard not to wish they'd do a better job combining the different sounds they so clearly love to explore. As it stands now, they compartmentalize them too much, and as a result, the most impressive thing about them—and it is impressive—is that they do many thing very well. Even more impressive, though, would be a band that managed to put them all together in a way we haven't quite heard before. Fortunately, there's no real reason to think they won't.

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