My first exposure to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was back in 2003 when, as a first stop on the road to promoting their first full length, Fever to Tell, they tore up the stage on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Within less then 20 seconds into the intro of "Y-Control" it was apparent that Karen O, this writhing creature, dressed in what appeared to be shredded American Apparel gear reformed to proto-punk perfection, was destined to be the next starlet in a burgeoning new wave revival. Of course my prediction was dead on. Fever to Tell was massive, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were quickly scooped up and adored by the record buying public.
You see, O's was a performance that conveyed much more than just "here's our new song please buy our new record." Through everything, form her wardrobe and exotic features, to her herky-jerky movements and brute force vocal delivery; she somehow managed to evoke all the mythology that ever surrounded the New York art scene. She either scared you, or made you wish you were partying with her after the show. And you know what? You could, by buying her album.
In terms of Is Is, I've got to first give credit to guitarist Nicolas Zinner and drummer Brian Chase who still manage to somehow maintain some semblance of musical sanity between Karen O's groans and mutli-registered snarly-snarls. In fact, ten bucks to anyone who can make out what she's saying on "Rockers to Swallow," the EP's opening song. Luckily, things pick up by "Down Boy," possibly my favorite Yeah Yeah Yeahs song to date. The kind of track that, when it finally locks you into its pulsating dance rock embrace, makes you wonder if somebody didn't slip ectasy (or some other drug that makes you want to have sex with everybody) into your drink. In fact, regardless of the EP's limited 5 song listing, you'll still feel like you just partied till six, forgot to shower, and showed up to work with your pants on backwards by the end of it. And isn't that how rock and roll is supposed to make you feel?
Now get down with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and watch them perform "Down Boy" on last week's Letterman.
Review by: Chris Webster
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