Yeasayer – Fragrant World
Yeasayer, that most postmodern of American bands, can never be trusted to stay in one place for very long. From first to second album, their previously tribal sound morphed into something altogether more danceable and lovestruck. For round three, they’ve shifted again, returning with an album indebted to the pop and R&B of the 1980s and 90s (Reagan’s Skeleton is a dead ringer for Beloved’s1993 classic Sweet Harmony), but which manages to sound as fresh as anything they’ve produced to date.
Fragrant World is as dense and layered as we’ve come to expect from a Yeasayer release but it’s also the first time the Brooklyn trio have come close to what might be described as a formula. The best songs on here (see Henrietta, Fingers Never Bleed) tend to start out on a nebulous, swirling tangent, before crystallising in an inevitably glorious hook that’ll lodge itself in your cranium for days. As grand designs go, it’s one that endures.