Unlike the little critters buzzing around causing the dengue surge in our little red dot over the past few months, New York punk rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ latest album, Mosquito, is a genuinely enjoyable listen and will certainly get under your skin just the same.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs certainly forced the world to sit up and take notice back in 2003, when they first unleashed Fever To Tell unto the music scene. While frontwoman Karen O’s eccentric ensembles and crazy antics would put Lady Gaga to shame, it was undeniably the band’s tunes that stole the limelight.

Since their inception, Yeah Yeah Yeahs have racked up numerous accolades with Rolling Stone including “Maps” from Fever To Tell in their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, NME listing Fever To Tell as the fifth best album of the decade, and Rolling Stone again nominating their second album, Show Your Bones as the 44th best album of 2006.

An entire decade’s wait later, and the quirky trio finally presents their fourth album, Mosquito.

Surprisingly, the intense and electrifying energy synonymous with this band can hardly be detected this time. Instead, the songs impart a morose and introspective tenor, divulging glimpses into Karen’s depressed state of mind, and the negativity guitarist Nick Zinner found himself entangled in due to a horribly complicated breakup in 2010, their first year of recording the album.

Their lead single, “Sacrilege” combines seductive crooning and high-pitched yowling, allowing Karen to flaunt her extensive vocal abilities.  A harmonious choir towards the end lends a unique flavour to the first track off the album – a testament of how these 3 are always pushing boundaries and experimenting with their sound.

Quickly after the crescendo fades away from the chorus of multiple voices,“Subway” starts to trickle in gently and the interestingly sedate tempo, set by the sound of a train travelling along tracks, again highlights how the YYYs never fail to spice things up.

The NOLA demo is equally mesmerising, with Zinner’s single string plucking and the production allowing the individual components  to shine.

While the album isn’t without its gems, this mellow and laid-back direction the band’s embarking on causes some tracks to feel uninspired and mundane.

The title track “Mosquito” falls flat, and sounds rather monotonous, despite Karen’s uplifting exclamations throughout, and it’s truly baffling that such a critically acclaimed band would choose this as the centrepiece of their album. “Area 52” is equally disappointing, with the lyrics “I want to be an alien/Take me please, oh alien”). coming across as a tad daft. Thankfully, the energetic drumming and lo-fi guitar riffs add interesting textured layers to the song, making the silly lyrics a little more bearable.

As the album draws to a close, the brooding energy that has been pent-up and festering in the previous tracks culminates spectacularly in the form of “Despair”. Overwhelming waves of exhaustion and resignation to a bitter fate are sent crashing down when Karen sings, “Oh despair, you’ve always been there/ You were there through my wasted years”. Despite the bleak lyrics, she manages to paint a delicate image of brokenness and futility, while not sounding unexciting throughout the entire track.

Off this album, the instrumentals are well put together and the melodies ear-infecting. However, flaws surface in tracks like “Mosquito” and “Area 52”, where the songs fail to make you move, unlike the riveting tunes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have put out earlier in their career.

Transition beckons for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, after a decade of pumping out electrifying records, and their latest album highlights how these insane party punks have mellowed. The same magic found on the previous 3 albums may be harder to detect, but “Mosquito” will still manage to find its way under your skin.


Album Details:

Artiste: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Album: Mosquito

Rating: 3/5

Language: English

Genre: Indie Rock

Record Label: Interscope Records

Release Date: 12th April 2013


Track List:

1. Sacrilege
2. Subway
3. Mosquito
4. Under the Earth
5. Slave
6. These Paths
7. Area 52
8. Buried Alive (ft. Dr. Octagon)
9. Always
10. Despair
11. Wedding Song