Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Yeasayer: Fragrant World
Secretly Canadian Records 
Fire Note Says: Yeasayer release transitional third lp with Fragrant World.
Yeasayer has always been on the fringe of indie rock and seemed poised to eventually rise to the top with each record except for the fact that each record takes small steps backwards from their engaging debut. Unfortunately their third long player, Fragrant World, slides their sound to an even more eclectic ear as it relies way more on synthesizers, electronic beats and fractured rhythms.
I would not be telling the truth if I didn't admit to you I am a bit disappointed with Fragrant World because I thought this would be the record to proper Yeasayer to the next level. Instead this album sounds and feels much like a transition record for something bigger, something even more mysterious and something that will blow fans and critics away next time out. Weirdly enough that feeling of change is enough to still propel Fragrant World and guide it from complete flatness. The R&B drenched "Longevity" has a catchy beat and vocal that gets your feet tapping and helps you try to absorb Yeasayer's new direction while first single "Henrietta" blends this hip groove vibe with pulsing beats and a spiraling keyboard that does work for the group.
On the remainder of Fragrant World though, Yeasayer try different combos of broken pieced synthesizers and vocal interplay which comes off slightly disjointed for the group instead of perfection that finds the quick changing "No Bones" struggling. On "Folk Hero Shtick" the band has so much going on it sounds like they are constantly trying to keep up with themselves instead of controlling the morphing song structure which ultimately holds it back. Fans of Yeasayer will most certainly be on the fence here with Fragrant World as repeat spins fails to sell you completely. There are several tracks here that show where Yeasayer want to go and given that they are a talented bunch I would not dismiss them or their direction on Fragrant World but until that refinement takes place Yeasayer are still looking for an album to surpass their stellar debut.
Key Tracks: "Henrietta", "Damaged Goods", "Longevity"
Bands With Similar Fire:
Yeasayer: Odd Blood [Fire Note Review 2/4/10]
Yeasayer: All Hour Cymbals [Fire Note Review 12/19/07]
Secretly Canadian Records
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony