It’s been an exciting week if you’re a Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan. LA radio host Jason Bentley revealed the band would release the follow-up to 2009’s ‘It’s Blitz!’ in the “springtime” of 2013 AND it was the birthday of Queen art-punk Karen O. There’s nae a whisper of a track online yet and the band haven’t confirmed the release but it’s about time. O said she was working on new material December last year.
So what can we expect? In an interview with Q around the time ‘It’s Blitz’ came out, Karen O suggested that the next album would be acoustic. Considering Nick Zinner is an electric guitar hero, this is a little worrying. Fears weren’t allayed recently when James Murphy of LCD Soundsytem denied reports that he’s producing the album. Also, Karen O’s most recent song, ‘Strange Love’ for the Tim Burton soundtrack for ‘Frankenweenie’ was a surfy acoustic ballad (but very pretty too).
Yet an album without banging tunes would be unlikely. ‘It’s Blitz’ had the perfect mix of gentle heartbreakers (‘Hysteric’, ‘Skeletons’, ‘Runaway’) and zinging, hi-NRG dance tracks that produced remix after remix (‘Zero’, ‘Heads Will Roll’, the funky ‘Dragon Queen’). The acoustic versions on the full-length album were more than welcome – but an album without Zinner’s electric genius would be unthinkable.
So what other clues have we got? Since ‘It’s Blitz’, YYYs have gone collaboration crazy. O teamed up with Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch for the thrashy ‘Immigrant Song’ for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Both O and Zinner contributed to a couple of acoustic tracks on ex-Smashing Pumpkin James Iha’s album and O worked with David Lynch on his dodgy album ‘Crazy Clown Time’. Let’s hope this album is just the three of them – their sound doesn’t need diluting.
Looking back at their three albums, there’s no obvious linear sonic progression. ‘Fever To Tell’ (2003) introduced YYYs seductive, esoteric noise with a blast. Karen O set out her stall as one of the greatest frontwoman of the decade (with magnificent outfits to boot). ‘Show Your Bones’ (2006) was more minimalist, confidently languorous, opening with the gorgeously melodic ‘Gold Lion’. (An aside: how impeccable are YYYs album openers?). ‘It’s Blitz’ (2009) was a dazzling explosion of synths and their strongest so far. Perhaps Act IV will be even heavier.
Despite O’s experimental leanings (her psycho-opera ‘Stop The Virgens’ went down well at the end of 2011), I’m going to call a no to any rap, terrorcore or garage directions and hope, greedily, for a mix of guitar, dancefloor bangers and acoustic melters. I’ll bet anyone who comments below £50 that it’ll be a goody. Let me know your favourite YYYs song below and what you’re hoping for.