Yeasayer – Amen & Goodbye
Psychedelic Rock | Pop | Avant Garde
God knows what Yeasayer were smoking when they made this. You only need to look at the surreal artwork to know that you’re in for a wild ride. Take lead single and album highlight ‘I Am Chemistry’ for example: in the space of five minutes you have flutes, eastern music, an electronic break and a choral section. The lyrics are almost exclusively about the chemical makeup of poisons and neurotoxins and the music video looks as though it was created by Nick Park on a bad acid trip. I haven’t a clue what the hell is going on but it’s brilliant. Their deranged creation is one of the best singles, and videos, of the year thus far.
After the lead single Amen & Goodbye takes you even further through the looking glass. ‘Half Asleep’ feels like a medieval chant, ‘Child Prodigy’ is a brief interlude of just harpsichord and applause and ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ adds a brief bit of free-form jazz into an otherwise straightforward indie pop song. Therein lies the key, no matter how bizarre a tangent they go down Yeasayer know how to write a hit song, they just choose to do it a little differently. The album declines in quality a bit towards the end and naturally not all of their experiments are successful, but when things work there is no stopping them. We all need a little madness in our lives and this is just the right dosage.