Yeasayer: Odd Blood

Welcome to "Nothing Not New," a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.

   Title: Odd Blood
   Release date: February 9, 2010
   Label: ​Secretly Canadian

If, in 1985, you would've told me that Tears for Fears, the British duo behind the mega-smash-hit "Shout," would be influencing American pop bands 25 years later, I would've told you to take your parachute pants and your ridiculous theories and leave me alone to listen to my Billy Bragg records.

Well, sure enough, Tears is influencing at least someone -- and that someone is Yeasayer, a Brooklyn trio that plays dramatic, sometimes grandiose, synthesizer-based '80s-style pop. Not totally '80s, though, because '80s pop appeared in mainstream John Hughes movies. The music by Yeasayer is more likely to appear in self-important "indie" movies made by people who grew up watching John Hughes films.

I can't say I like Yeasayer a whole a lot. Why? First, I'm predisposed to guitar-based pop and rock. Second, I like more natural-sounding music (like, say, the new EP by Cold War Kids, which I wrote about yesterday). Third, I really hated Tears for Fears a quarter-century ago, and these guys really do sound a lot like TfF. But at least Tears for Fears had the good sense not to have a refrain like this repeated over and over in one of their songs: "You're stuck in my mind / Oh-oh-vertime." Keep trying, guys. One day you may write something as awesome as "Shout / Shout / Let it all out."

I'm sure many people will think I'm out of my mind because they think Yeasayer is brilliant and important and ground-breaking. I'd love to hear what it is about Yeasayer that I don't get. Post a comment below or write to me at jay.bennett@newtimes.com and I'll give you your 2 cents. I've been known to be wrong about this kind of thing before.

Best song: "Rome," a good dance tune that reminded me a lot of The Pointer Sisters' "Neutron Dance" (in spirit, if not necessarily sound). 
Rotation: Light. There were many songs on Odd Blood that I couldn't wait to end.
Déja Vú: My sophomore year of high school.
I'd rather listen to: Early Depeche Mode.
Grade: C-

Tomorrow in "Nothing Not New": Something new by Surfer Blood, which I've been told repeatedly is "really, really good."

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