Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Yeasayer, All Hour Cymbals

With their debut album “All Hour Cymbals” Yeasayer has accomplished something most bands never achieve – an album that is both rooted in popular music forms and has a sound and approach that is so unique they yeasayerdon’t sound like anyone else.  Their songs are rich with American, Middle Eastern, Indian and African influences and end up sounding like music that is native to a culture that doesn’t exist.  If “All Hour Cymbals” is any evidence, it should.

Yeasayer is a quartet composed of Chris Keating (guitar, vocals), Anand Wilder (keyboards, vocals), Ira Wolf Tuton (bass), and Luke Fasano (drums).  Listening to “All Hour Cymbals” it sounds like all, or at least some, of them are also accomplished at the mixing board as the music often has layer on layer of instruments, percussion and choir-like harmonies or chants.  Middle Eastern instruments, African rhythms, tribal chants, and soaring choirs weave in and out of the music in a polyrhythmic stew.  With all of these bits and pieces it should be a jumbled mess but it’s not.  The melding of this wide variety of influences is exquisite and the soundscape is kept clean and uncluttered.  Independently of their skill as musicians and songwriters, Yeasayer are masterful at putting it all together.  With everything that’s going on in these songs, they still sound natural and easy.  Organic.  It’s this seeming naturalness that makes the music sound so rooted as if it comes from a culture that has existed for eons.

Yeasayer has been attracting a good deal of favorable attention and it remains to be seen whether the band can keep it together under the flood of positive press.  For right now, “All Hour Cymbals” is a superb example of why getting stuck listening to the music that was popular when you were young is a big mistake.  If you’re not paying attention to what’s going on now, you’re going to miss CDs like “All Hour Cymbals” and that would be unfortunate.  Albums like this don’t come along very often but when they do they make listening to all the variations on a theme you’ve heard too many times before worth it.  “All Hour Cymbals” is the kind of album people go back to time and again over the years.  Strongly recommended.

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04/08/2008 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews |

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