Given the current musical and economic climate, it’s not so weird that Karen O and co have gone all synth pop to reign in some dollar and some disco kids. What is weird is that, for the most part, our favourite guitar-driven rock goddess actually makes it work. We might miss the trademark sexrock wails of the New Yorkers’s back catalogue, but we’re loving this new direction.
Opener Zero is the initial shock, whacking regurgitated 80’s club grooves right into your dumbfounded grill. Karen O can cook on our grill any day – we’ll even crimp our hair and wear shoulder pads for this date. Another, Heads Will Roll, is dripping with dance floor moves that haven’t even been invented yet: “Off off off with your head/Dance dance dance till you’re dead” commands O. There’s a wrong turn with Skeletons, an Irish jig of sorts that sounds like an off-cut from the Titanic soundtrack, but a neat recovery in the form of Dull Life, which is bursting with the guitar quirk and moaning punk vox you’ll have been searching for amidst the synth-heavy openers.
Later, Shame and Fortune is instant and sleazy, and we’re all over it like a groupie on a set list, and David Sitek’s renowned touches are still clearly present on tracks like the awesome Hysteric, which should please the producer’s militant nerd following. The rest of us should just be happy that YYYs are back in our lives; they’ve brought a serious bout of floor filling fever with them. (7)