Entertainment Music
Entertainment Entertainment Music

Album review: Yeasayer, 'Fragrant World'

* (out of four)

Hey, have you guys thought about death? Pretty deep, right? Like, everybody dies. And the older you get, the closer you are to dying! And the really crazy thing is that all of us are getting older every day, so we're all slowly dying all the time! Can you believe that?

No? Then, boy, is listening to this sweet new music going to be an opportunity to confront your own mortality. Not just in the figurative sense, where listening to the dull atmospheric blend of synthesizers will make you wonder if there might be more meaningful ways to spend an hour of your life; no, Yeasayer's “Fragrant World,” the oh-so-Brooklyn indie electronic outfit's third album, is literally insistent that you consider death, among other existential quandaries. Appropriately, it's kind of a bummer.

There was a time when Yeasayer made fun music: bubbly, energetic stuff like “Ambling Alp” and “2080” that hid its worldly despair behind hazy globalized influences. “Fragrant World,” though, trades in the band's former charming eclecticism for a uniform palette of plodding rhythms and somber electronic effects. Although there's a modest payoff in songs like “Henrietta” and “No Bones,” the band's attempts to infuse its professed EDM and R&B influences with darker themes mostly fall flat by missing what is fundamentally appealing about those genres: the fact that they seek to entertain.

Death, on the other hand, well … turns out it's not super chill, and neither is its soundtrack.

Kyle Kramer is a RedEye special contributor. @redeyechimusic

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Marrow's 'The Gold Standard' raises the Chicago rock bar

    Marrow's 'The Gold Standard' raises the Chicago rock bar

    The four musicians in Marrow know quite a bit about bringing diverse influences to the table. After all, three of them, singer-guitarist Liam Kazar, singer-keyboardist Macie Stewart and bassist Lane Beckstrom were in Kids These Days, a now-defunct septet that combined jazz, funk, rap and rock in...

  • The Kids These Days family tree

    The Kids These Days family tree

    From its 2009 beginnings to its 2013 demise, Chicago's Kids These Days seemed like one of the most promising acts the city had seen in years. While the band split up at the height of its hype, its members have since gone on to do bigger and better things—seriously impressive considering the hip-hop/rock/jazz...

  • Solid 'Gold': How ex-Kids These Days members came back stronger as Marrow

    Solid 'Gold': How ex-Kids These Days members came back stronger as Marrow

    After the dissolution of Kids These Days, the much-buzzed about Chicago fusion-jazz-rock-rap septet that split in spring 2013 just a few months after releasing its only album, “Traphouse Rock,” some of its members spent what seems like all of 20 minutes bandless. "We were driving back from the...

  • Mr Twin Sister's 'In the House of Yes' is one of last year's hidden treasures

    Mr Twin Sister's 'In the House of Yes' is one of last year's hidden treasures

    Welcome to RedEye's "Song of the Day," an ongoing feature where music reporter Josh Terry or another RedEye staff member highlights something they're listening to. Some days the track will be new, and some days it will be old. No matter what, each offering is something you should check out. Check...

  • GrubHub's weekend customer-support issues made people hangry

    GrubHub's weekend customer-support issues made people hangry

    Technical difficulties at GrubHub and Seamless over the weekend drove hordes of hangry would-be customers to air their grievances on social media. The food ordering and delivery sites, which merged in 2013 and use GrubHub’s back-end technology, errantly accepted payments on Saturday evening without...

  • One dead in Heart of Chicago after being shot by police

    One dead in Heart of Chicago after being shot by police

    A 29-year-old man died after being shot by police on the Lower West Side early Saturday, police said.

Comments
Loading
76°