Since its formation in 2000, indie-rock trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs have always surprised their audience by bringing something different and fresh. Returning with a fourth studio album Mosquito, band members Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase have attempted to offer yet another stunning album. They might not have achieved much, but the veterans deserve a B for effort.
What the band did wrong in this album was changing their sound too much compared to their previous releases. It appears that the band tried to merge their indie-rock with other genres. The previously prominent guitar was replaced by synthesised sounds and Mosquito is overall a lot more slow-paced and relaxed in comparison with It’s Blitz!. What they did do right was experiment with more eerie tones while keeping their vocals animated.
Karen O brings the songs on the record to life with her vocals. The lyrics themselves don’t make much sense to those without an ear for metaphorical messages and deeper meanings, which makes it hard for listeners to really connect with the songs, but Karen O’s performance throughout the album makes that feel a little excusable.
“Slave” is one track where Karen O’s vocals entice the lister to mull over the lyrics’ deeper meaning. The guitars on this track lead the vocals and drums and make the emotions run wild. The listener feels everything – the anger, sadness, betrayal, yearning and hate – all in a sturdy four minutes.
Conversely, “Subway” makes you feel nothing. The song features the sound of a train moving over its tracks, a few stringed instruments and dull, redundant lyrics and reaches no climax at any stage of the five minutes it runs.
The last track on the album, “Wedding Song”, closes the album on a good note. With a slow tempo but an alluring set, this is the perfect song to make the listener think that they at least achieved some emotional enlightenment from listening to the album.
Audiences who expected this album to be similar to Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ previous work will most likely be disappointed. As artists, Yeah Yeah Yeahs are certainly a cut above average, but their skill of making something equally feral and alluring wasn’t manifested in this album. If they controlled the album’s various influences while staying the Yeah Yeah Yeahs fans have already fallen in love with, this album would have been a greater success.