When Yeasayer hit their groove they're virtually untouchable as a creative force. It's when they get bogged down in that trippy, sludgy quick sand that we switch off, and again, it's this propensity that demotes Odd Blood from great to merely very good.
That's not to say that there's no progression here. Singer Chris Keating, for one, has tapped a wellspring of mojo, and is now by-turns a pleading (Ambling Alp), defiant (Rome) and spurned (O.N.E.) soul man.
But the headline for this review could quite frankly be 'Yeasayer go pop', and it's startling to hear how far they've taken the hooks which they barely buried on All Hour Cymbals. It may sound vaguely like Graceland-era Paul Simon, but O.N.E. - with its chorus "No, you don't move me anymore, and I'm glad that you don't" - is unashamed, trash-talking pop-lite. The track that follows, Love Me Girl, is somehow even more deliciously silly, morphing a Balearic rave intro into a tacky electro-R'n'B chorus more suited to the giddy heights of the Billboard Hot 100.
More familiar is the tropical drumbeat and fluid bassline on fantastic lead single Ambling Alp, or the vocable, Native American sounding howl of Madder Red. But anyone who zoned out midway through All Hour Cymbals will find that Odd Blood has a similarly languid denouement, save for the blast of TV on the Radio-aping future-funk that is Mondegreen.
With Odd Blood, Yeasayer earn their stripes as indie-pop innovators, but they would surely benefit from exercising just a tad more control over their wild, conflicting urges. [Nick Mitchell]
Yeasayer play King Tut's, Glasgow on 17 Feb.http://myspace.com/yeasayer