Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Fever to Tell
Following their first two EPs and a year and a half of massive media hype, you just knew people were all ready for ripping this band to shreds. But when finally confronted with the sheer strength of Fever to Tell, that proved to be a far more difficult task than expected. Some reviewers have indeed tried to underestimate this album, but it always seems more like they’re simply having a hard time accepting the fact that, for once, the hype’s well-deserved.
Sure, Fever to Tell isn’t rock ‘n’ roll resurrected, but frankly, not many of us were expecting that. Rather, this is a surprisingly vivid and engaging collection of songs pushing the already formulaic nu-rawk revolution towards rarely visited places. Taking their cue from late-’70s underground New York garage and early-’80s new wave, Yeah Yeahs Yeahs come across like an updated, suddenly relevant Pretenders, playing with the uncompromising passion of Liars. Settling into neither Gang of Four-epilepsy nor The Velvet Underground’s monotonous drone, Yeah Yeah Yeahs instead embrace distraught, chaotic underground rock, adding impassioned performances and some lilting but darkly edged melodies.
The opening “Rich” perfectly captures this duality, as does the wonderful “Pin” (far better here than in the previously released remix version), the astoundingly subtle “Maps” and the boastful “Man.” It’s not all good, and there’s a fair enough share of rather anonymous tracks on here. But Fever to Tell is so crowded with great moments that Yeah Yeah Yeahs come out of this proving they exist far above and beyond any media-created hype.