Nothing is more exciting than a band experimenting with a new sound…except when that new sound doesn’t really fit the band.
As a sophomore effort, Show Your Bones is a milestone for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It showcases all of their talents and gives them new faces to play with. The sound is definitely different here. More loose and open to abrupt tempo changes and soft ditties that would even please mother. This trio has made a strong progression since streaming out of NYC and into the MTV limelight, and Show Your Bones is just that next step in propelling them further.
Show Your Bones starts off strong with the single “Gold Lion,” and slowly progresses through a mixed bag of songs that feel eloquent and then miserable in a matter of seconds. Show Your Bones, while being introspective and commanding, is also a chore to listen to half the time. Some of the songs feel like they have their place while others merely exist on a track listing. Songs like “Cheated Hearts” and “Dudley” are moving and consistently interesting. The type of songs made to put on repeat for hours. Then there are songs like “The Sweets”, which feels like a new form of Chinese torture.
Guitarist Nick Zinner, who paired so well with Conor Oberst on Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, is in perfect form here; leading Karen on long, distressing stretches of what sounds like the mangling of chords.
Vocalist Karen O shows that her singing can be just as affective as her screaming. The feeling of rage she exuded so well on Fever to Tell is missing here. Listeners don’t get the sense that Karen’s angry anymore, and maybe it’s for the best. Maybe that comes with the territory. Show Your Bones feels like a step in the right direction for a band that is as clever and unique as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Danny Gordon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.