Album Review: Fragrant World by Yeasayer

Yeasayer, darling of the Brooklyn indie scene, is back with a cacophonous sophomore album, Fragrant World. In this, their second offering, Yeasayer holds onto the poppy synths that give them their dance punch, while departing into darker territory with what they’ve dubbed, “demented R&B.”

And Fragrant World is exactly that–demented. At times pop-laden and upbeat, at others shrill and disturbing, Yeasayer has done a remarkable thing in that it has crafted an album that spans material from opposite spectrums of emotion and vibrancy and melded them to optimize dance hooks.

For an example of demented R&B, one need look no further than “Longetivity.” The vocals mirror something akin to Aaliyah (Yeasayer’s Chris Keating cites her as an influence on the album) with the crashing sonorous quality found on the now defunct band The Unicorns. This quality is further found on “No Bones” and “Demon Road.” Interestingly, many of these songs have a chilling sound quality as they deal in darker subject matter with an emphasis on skeletons and demons.

When Yeasayer isn’t experimenting with their Halloween-esque demented R&B, they are back to doing what they do best–upbeat synth dance music that sounds like Depeche Mode, Hot Chip and Passion Pit got together and started a super group. See “Fingers Never Bleed,” “Blue Paper” and “Damaged Goods.”

Fragrant World is a departure. Fans looking for an upbeat dance party will definitely find tracks to jam to here. Those with darker inclinations (think She Wants Revenge) will also find value in the album. Yeasayer’s newest might take a few listens, but at its heart is the same clamorous, synth dance music we’ve come to expect and love.

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