The past couple of years have been banner ones for electro-pop, which is both a blessing and a curse for Yeasayer. While the Brooklyn trio’s continuing evolution from hippie-friendly indie-rockers to beats-and-blips architects locates them alongside stylistic trendsetters like Cut Copy, M83, and Passion Pit, Yeasayer’s Fragrant World is nowhere near as smart or memorable as the most recent works by these bands—in particular, Passion Pit’s just-released gem, Gossamer.
Still, Yeasayer’s latest boasts a number of inspired moments: the swirling intro hook to the standout first single, “Henrietta,” and the infectious funk of “Reagan’s Skeleton,” not to mention the barrage of inventive synth sounds. Such a dense sonic pallette, however, prevents the album from gaining any real traction since the vocal melodies rarely rise above the jam-packed, yet dynamically flatlining arrangements—lyrical latitudes like “All hell’s gonna break loose” (“Demon Road”) don’t help things, either.
Even the most interesting tracks—“Folk Hero Shtick,” with its exposed bass line and heavily treated vocals, and Animal Collective-ish closer “Glass of the Microscope”—only make for an undeservedly great coda.
Playlist picks: “Glass of the Microscope,” “Henrietta,” “Reagan’s Skeleton”