Fifteen years now since Fever To Tell, the debut album by New York trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs hit the shops. It’s a bit of a strange record in that having made something of a name for themselves as a loud and screechy 21st century garage-rock band who occasionally tipped their hats to the heaviest of rock acts, the best moments on the debut are when they take a moment or two to slow things down.
Not that anyone would have known this would be the case given that the first single to be lifted from the album was as frantic, fast, ferocious and fearsome as anything that had come out on earlier EPs:-
It’s the sort of song made for a bit of body slamming on the dancefloor….and has, of course, to be listened at a volume which will make your ears bleed profusely.
The follow-up was along similar lines, coming in at a damn-near perfect two minutes in length, which is about as much as much as my then 40 year-old body could cope with as I gyrated around the living room scaring the bejaysus out of the cats.
mp3 : Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Pin
(Pin actually came up on random shuffle early the other day and the fact that it brought a smile to otherwise miserable face on my daily commute indirectly led to this posting)
The third single to be lifted from the album was rather different.
mp3 : Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps
It’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Karen O delivers a vulnerable yet powerful vocal which is reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux at her very best while her two band mates do their utmost and provide a jaggy and pounding accompaniment. I’d be happy to start a debate that this is as superb an indie pop/rock love song as there has ever been, particularly from just about the two-minute mark when the guitars really kick in.
There had been a seven-month gap between the release of Pin and Maps, with it not being released until February 2004. It was likely the fact that the album was now the best part of a year old and had sold in decent quantities in the UK which prevented Maps doing better than #26 in the charts, and so it was something of a surprise that a fourth track, out of eleven on the album, was issued as a 45 later on that year:-
Many of the initial reviews of the album had picked out Y Control as being a particular highlight, one which had loads of 70s and 80s influences and yet managed to sound ridiculously fresh and so 21st Century. It’s a very fair assessment of things but at the same time it’s not the most commercial or radio-friendly of tunes and so it didn’t seem to the most clever of ideas to put it out as a single some 15 months after it had appeared on the album. No surprises then that it was something of a flop.