Saturday, October 08, 2022

'Cool It Down’: Don't Miss Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Remarkable Comeback

Following a nine-year hiatus, Yeah Yeah Yeahs have returned in full form with their fifth studio album ‘Cool It Down’, the band’s first release with Secretly Canadian. 

Since ‘Mosquito’ in 2013 it was unclear as the years went by whether the band would make a comeback but here they stand with eight shining new tracks proving their days making music are not over. 

Their success during the 2000s, having produced three Grammy-nominated albums, makes this release even more exciting and listeners will surely witness again the magic that happens when this New York trio collaborates.

With ‘Cool It Down’ Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ continue to pay tribute to their early inspiration – even the title is drawn from the Velvet Underground track of the same name featured on their 1970’s ‘Loaded’. Across the album you can hear the band’s alternative, psychedelic roots. It is surely the first nod to their recent embrace of nostalgia after nearly a decade to pause and reflect.

On ‘Wolf’ a spacey bass brings a techno vibe which gels unexpectedly with the gravitas and drama of classical strings. These layers continue with ‘Fleez’ where a symphony of synths comprises an electric dance track, reminding us of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ earlier days. Lead vocalist and pianist Karen O is well known for her singular style and flamboyant performances, so it is easy to picture her flying across the stage when this track is taken on tour.  

As a lead single ‘Spitting Off The Edge Of The World’, featuring Perfect Genius, has an apocalyptic feel. Like their post-9/11 ‘Fever To Tell’, it is the band’s way of relating to the younger generation who face uncertain, troubled futures – “Mama, what have you done? I trace your steps/In the darkness of one, am I what’s left?”. Similarly, ‘Burning’, the album’s fast paced track with Brian Chase’s crashing drums on the chorus, reflects the urgency of living during the current climate crisis.  

Different Today’ presents a similar message. “Oh, how the world keeps on spinning” Karen O eloquently sings, “It goes spinning out of control”. Portraying how life carries on no matter what, the band’s own story somewhat shines through. Yeah yeah yeahs have certainly succeeded in capturing both the beauty and tragedy of chaos with this track. The repeated lyric “Spinning” feels especially poignant as a reminder that everyone often feels stuck in the motions.

The band displays sophistication as a lullaby-like melody carries into ‘Cool It Down’s tempered ‘Mars’. At 1:55 it serves as a short closing track which features emotional spoken lyrics that provide space for listeners to reflect. It is a fittingly vulnerable and unhurried conclusion to a raw album overall. With this album the band has kept elements which we know and love and define them as a trio while heading in an unsuspected direction – it has certainly been a compelling return for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Maebh Springbett


Image: ‘Cool It Down’ Official Album Cover


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