Yeasayer – review

The Lexington, London

"Ah, the Barfly," sighs Yeasayer guitarist Anand Wilder nostalgically. "The Dublin Castle …" With the band wildly beating drum-pads like a gaggle of electro-Krishnas and backlit by a theatre-sized lighting rig crammed on to the Lexington's minuscule stage, it's bizarre to find them reminiscing fondly about their 2007 tour of Camden toilet venues. But then this tiny fan show is a throwback to a time when Yeasayer emerged as the most blogged-about band on the planet and a pivotal force in New York's underground scene. They combined the Rapture's dancefloor funk with MGMT's psychedelia and the manic world music of Animal Collective. Later – with 2009's breakthrough hit Ambling Alp – they also popularised the accessible 80s pop edge that's now become de rigueur in the basements of Williamsburg.

Those bright shards of Duran Duran, Red Box, the Thompson Twins and Wax, often sunk beneath oceans of Indian and Shinto synth trickery on their albums, leap to the fore when played live. While the synthetic mania and tribal drum frenzies of 2080 suggest shamans possessed by wolf spirits, the tune is essentially You Can Call Me Al crossed with Talking Heads; as swamped as Henrietta might be with what sounds like lovelorn yetis howling, at its core it's a Hall and Oates cameo in Miami Vice. The tracks from the forthcoming third album Fragrant World, which dominate the set, might sound like music melting, but they leave a luminescent puddle, oozing the warmth and humanity of the finest electro.

The new material proves their choruses remain cut-throat, their beats bristling and their brains bubbling: there's a Rubber Soul slant to Folk Hero Shtick and a fresh political bite to the New Order-aping Reagan's Skeleton. Crowd-pleasers may be sparse tonight, but as singer Chris Keating leaps into an audience drenched in glitterball rays for a jubilant Ambling Alp, the Yeas undoubtedly have it.


Mark Beaumont

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Yeasayer: Pop review
Brighton Digital
Where they used to sound gloomy, Yeasayer now sound breezily confident – like a band who have thrown caution to the wind, writes Alexis Petridis

Alexis Petridis

02, Mar, 2010 @9:35 PM

Yeasayer: Fragrant World – review

The first half of Yeasayer's new album is a real plod, but it picks up magnificently after that, writes Rebecca Nicholson

Rebecca Nicholson

16, Aug, 2012 @8:15 PM

New music download: Yeasayer – O.N.E

Your chance to download a free track from the band's new album, Odd Blood

28, Jan, 2010 @4:53 PM

Article image
Yeasayer; Deap Vally – review
Pulsating Brooklyn art rockers Yeasayer take a backwards glance, writes Kitty Empire, while Deap Vally beguile

Kitty Empire

14, Jul, 2012 @11:06 PM

Yeasayer: Fragrant World – review
Yeasayer's third LP is more fidgety than ever, writes Hermione Hoby

Hermione Hoby

18, Aug, 2012 @11:05 PM

Yeasayer, Windmill, London

Windmill, London.

Tom Hughes

17, Aug, 2007 @10:37 AM

Yeasayer: Odd Blood | CD review

Taking in references from around the globe, Yeasayer craft a multicultural masterclass, writes Will Dean

Will Dean

05, Feb, 2010 @12:00 AM

Article image
Yeasayer: men versus mammon

Michael Hann: They're po-faced but funny, worried about death – and life. Yeasayer talk about music, self-promotion and compromising with commerce

Michael Hann

26, Jul, 2012 @7:30 PM

Article image
Sinkane review – a heavy dose of razor-sharp funk
Vocal fumblings and kit glitches fade into the background as Ahmed Gallab’s genre-bending musical mastery takes centre stage, writes Tshepo Mokoena

Tshepo Mokoena

02, Dec, 2014 @5:46 PM

Yeasayer: Odd Blood | CD review
The Brooklyn band coast into the mainstream, writes Hugh Montgomery

Hugh Montgomery

07, Feb, 2010 @12:05 AM