New Music Tuesday: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – The Is Is  E.P.

24 07 2007

by mr. travis

yeah yeah yeahs - is is ep

Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Album: Is Is
Label: Interscope
Release Date: July 24, 2007

It’s becoming fairly clear at this juncture in their career that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs should stick with releasing e.p.’s every other year, at least until they find a producer who can really force the band to sit and write a complete 12 song album that doesn’t drag at some point. Their new release, titled Is Is finds the band roaring through five songs displaying the best of both of their full lengths, Fever to Tell and Show Your Bones, while pushing the band’s sound further into avant-garde territory.

Written in 2004, these songs in a lot of ways bridge the gap between those two previously mentioned albums, yet are far more aggressive than either of them, whether it be the forced art rock on Fever or the softened touch of Bones. Kicking things off with the crazed “Rocker to Swallow,” (which is less of a conventional song and more of a way for Karen O. to give the listener a showcase of her voice as an instrument), the band plays with an urgency not seen since their debut e.p. And it’s a welcomed change, for despite the strengths found in Bones, there were points where it seemed the band was starting to become a bit flat.

This is by no means their most accessible release. Fans of their previous record may be turned off by the ep, the sound being far more abrasive than what came before. Even the one “single” from the release, “Down Boy,” is all over the place, as it divides itself between some quieter moments, before exploding into a wall of noise. It’s follow up, the new wave paean “Kiss Kiss” has odd touches that distinguishes the band from its contemporaries.

Once again, this is Karen O’s show, as her voice only increases in power with each release, her ability to sound one moment completely vulnerable, the next sounding as if she will tear your head off. The angst within the release is high, reports state that these songs were written in a turbulent time for the band, and it shows, adding to the fury behind all of the involved players.

The only complaint is that it’s too short. Which is a shame, because the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have now put together a body of work that speaks of greatness, yet is in danger of being swallowed by their inability to put together a solid full length. There’s no doubting the strengths and the talent within, they just need to pull it together for a solid 12 songs straight to be worthy of being one of the greats. There are few bands that have all of these skills (the strong singer, the solid band, the giddy live shows), it would be a shame to see all of those talents go to waste.

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