You know what you’re getting with the surprisingly long-lived Yeasayer — catchy dance / pop with that hippy vibe that seemed to surround them and bands like MGMT, who emerged at the same time. The last couple of Yeasayer albums have been a bit Bombay Bicycle Club: you knew they’d be good and you knew what they’d sound like.
We may have been happy with this but Yeasayer clearly were not and Amen And Goodbye sees them take more risks and experiment. We’ve seen some reviews that say this is patchy and odd but stick with it — play it a few times and it’s an intelligent and enjoyable album. It will be on our “best of” list at the end of the year for sure.
It opens with the dreamy Daughters of Cain, a Beatles-like harmony (Prophecy Gun is also Beatles/George Harrison influenced) before kicking off proper with I Am Chemistry, not a song about a man who is attractive to the ladies but a song about real chemistry: “it’s a gas” they sing about C4H10FO2P, aka sarin, the fatal nerve gas. Enola Gay aside, there can’t be many songs about WMDs. Like the album itself, I Am Chemistry sounds odd but is traditional Yeasayer at heart. There’s a meaty synth section that’s reminiscent of Cut Copy.
Silly Me is a better pop tune, with the odd start giving way to a catchy pop tune that’s like their early material. The Chinese-sounding keyboard break in the middle of Half Asleep was what sold the album to us. Dead Sea Scrolls goes a bit Metronomy with its out-of-kilter sounds.
It lacks the instant appeal for their last couple of albums, but it’s all the better for the effort it takes.
This is C4H10FO2P by the way: