Fever To Tell (Interscope/Geffen/A&M)
by Lauren Bussard
Before I even got the chance to hear this record, I instead heard about eighty-five billion jillion people dis the talents of Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ lead singer and frontwoman Karen O and turn a snobby nose to their much anticipated first studio album, Fever To Tell. So to begin with, I was slightly biased… but then… drumroll please… I actually heard it, and I’ve never been happier about being so wrong.
The dispute apparently grew around the fact that having already built up a huge following doing wild live shows in NYC before they were discovered by Interscope in the wake of The Strokes’ sudden success, critics weren’t sure if Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ electric energy could be recreated in a recording studio – or if it would be even be enjoyable without the accompanying live dance-punk show.
All right, I understand the concerns. That said, I now think that all of the media debates were completely unnecessary. This garage rock/art punk revivalist trio consists of a drummer, a singer (or wailer/whiner, call it what you will) and a guitarist – that’s right, no bassist, but they clearly make due just fine. Karen O does do her share of wailing, but her singing, as well as the general sound of all eleven songs on Fever To Tell, is more akin to the slightly cacophonous sound of Sleater-Kinney than it is to a dying cat (don’t laugh, I actually heard someone make that comparison).
So, bottom line is that although I will continue to make fun of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ repetitious name and the silly trend they’ve started (um, what kind of band name is !!! ? Who names themselves with a symbol? Prince?!?) I will defend their album ’til the day I die, because maybe their live show is better, but that doesn’t mean the studio album isn’t awesome too. And lucky us, it definitely is.