Yeasayer is a band awash in contradiction. Their name is undeniably positive (say YEA!) as is the title of their most recent album “Fragrant World” (mmmm). But things start to get weird when you examine the track list – songs with names like “Regan’s Skeleton,” “Demon Road” and “Devil and the Deed” clue you in to that maybe it isn’t all coming up roses in Yeasayer’s world.

Yeasayer seems to be in the mold of many other bands – floating at the periphery at the moment. Hailing from Brooklyn, electro-pop hipster three piece yadda yadda – we know the story …or perhaps we don’t. Their sound is so full and lush, so skittery and frenetic that you can’t pretend to have heard it before.

The band has gone above and beyond the call of duty with “Fragrant World,” employing new technologies to get sounds that you can never quite place. Some crazy software that can give any instrument the harmonic characteristics of another called Omnisphere was used to great effect. Hopefully that gives you some idea of the sonic contortions Yeasayer goes through on this album.

The opening track “Fingers Never Bleed” has a distinct Indian flavor with Bhangra beats and fluttery instrumentation. It sets the tone for an album that makes much of airy, layered vocals and beats that start serene and then just seem to stumble into danceable. Classical and exotic sounds collide as cellos and violins flex and bend together with marimbas and thumb keys. The vocal quality is reminiscent of the band Fun. And the instrumental quality of “Fragrant World” reminds one of Rick James. It’s that kind of record.

The album seems to hurdle forward with a momentum derived from dark squeals and blips – like your radar is leading you closer to something you may or may not want to find.

About the Author

Jasmine Zweifler