Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 'Mosquito': What the Critics Are Saying
Just days after Yeah Yeah Yeah's well-received Coachella Music Festival set, singer Karen O, guitarist/keyboardist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase have another gift for fans. The New York band's latest album, Mosquito, hit stores Tuesday.
While the band has proven it can conquer audiences with its blistering performances, did Mosquito win over the critics? Below, a sampling of what of some of the top music critics had to say about Yeah Yeah Yeahs' fourth studio album.
Billboard's Chris Payne describes Mosquito as "the trio's most scatterbrained collection yet, full of brooding atmospherics, jarring concepts and left-field noises." Payne opines "Sacrilege" should be the band's next hit. "Yeah Yeah Yeahs weren't trying to write a hit on Mosquito, but Sacrilege deserves to be one, even if it's in some mutant strain of Top 40 radio. Karen O belts out a memorable vocal performance with plenty of high-register riffs to get things going and, yes, that's a gospel choir swooping in to take the song to new heights: 'And I'll kneel, and I'll pray!'"
Joe Gross of Spin Magazine calls Karen O "the manic stepchild of Lydia Lunch and Elton John" who blazes through the band's fourth album. "Mosquito, the product of arty no-longer-kids finding new ways to repurpose old influences, or playing with new ones and bending them in towards themselves, drawing on, say, LCD Soundsystem's embrace-of-groove as much as the L train-borne New Wave of American Post-Punk they've come to exemplify. Their past can be as recent as '90s alt-rock or as distant as '70s dub reggae or Suicide's gallery-core."
New York Daily News' Jim Farber agrees, writing the band's fourth album is "clearly their most eccentric." He continues: "Nearly every song has a different texture, a fresh and fidgety approach to sound. They’ve stuck with the trend of accenting synths over guitars but this time they’ve pulled the structure of the songs out from under them. In the process, they left lots of eerie room between Karen O’s voice and the band’s wild instrumentation. The result sounds more like an album from art-rock chanteuse P.J. Harvey than any early Yeahs’ work."
The Seattle Times praises the band for drawing from the past: "While subterranean life is the album’s overarching lyrical theme, 'Area 52' looks heavenward. Borrowing the melody from the Stooges’ three-chord classic 'I Wanna Be Your Dog,' revising its chorus to 'I wanna be an alien' and adding beam-me-up guitar effects and death-march percussion, the band delivers campy, cosmic amusement."
But the Washington Post's Allison Stewart feels the album left something to be desired, writing: "The band’s new album, is more complex and less danceable than its predecessor. It’s a darker, multilayered collection of art-pop songs incorporating elements of spiky punk, ambient pop, roots-inspired reggae, gospel, dub and soul. The album is filled with good songs done well, but Mosquito still feels as if it’s missing some ineffable thing. There’s a homogenized sameness to it, despite its disparate influences. And it can never quite shake off the art-rock chill."