Earth circa-2007 is a small place, a fact especially evident in a music world where the likes of MIA, Santogold, Albarn, Klaxons and now Yeasayer think nothing of pilfering sound like they’re dipping a microphone in Super Glue and hurling it at a world map.
One look at these hyper-cool Brooklynites, and the idea of them channelling African roots music is enough to send eyebrows to the edge of the ozone layer. Happily, one spin of ‘All Hour Cymbals’ is all it takes to dissolve the notion that this is some in-joke or born from anything but a love of reeling in influences from the span of the globe. The result is more Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ than Nathan Barley.
Much of ‘All Hour Cymbals’ sounds like it fell off The Lion King soundtrack. Ghostly “whooo”s draw you into opener ‘Sunrise’, underpinned by tribal drums, hand-claps and Anand Wilder’s echo-strewn vocal. On ‘2080’ a godly chorus chant cuts through the foliage, Ira Wolf Tuton’s spectral bass filtering through the insect chatter like fog through a rainforest. It could soundtrack the birth of a tiger cub or a sunrise seen from the edge of Uluru. It’s also a song that defies the fact that Yeasayer spent their formative musical years in a New York scene constrained to the shape of Albert Hammond Jr’s guitar. We’re glad they chose to blast their music molecules around the world rather than unconsciously slip into the Ramones cookie-cutter their environment could have assigned them to. It’s a small world, yes, but a much more interesting one now we’ve got Yeasayer in it.