Fair or not, I always tend to watch the careers of MGMT and Yeasayer in the same light. Maybe it is because they toured together back in their early years. I can still remember MGMT opening for Yeasayer at a small Seattle club (Neumos). The show wasn’t even sold out! After that tour the bands’ popularity sky rocketed. MGMT created a rabid (and often annoying as hell) fan base because of their pop masterpiece Oracular Spectacular. Yeasayer’s debut, All Hour Cymbals, was just as much of a masterpiece but maybe didn’t resonate as much with those kids painting their faces a la “Electric Feel”. Regardless of the peak of each band’s popularity, they were extremely successful and didn’t want to be cornered into a certain sound or fan base. They both elected to spread their creative wings and raise a middle finger to anyone that wanted their subsequent albums to be something specific.
The new addition to the Yeasayer discography is titled Amen & Goodbye, and it is being released by Mute Records. After hitting play you are greeted with a beautiful psychedelic track reminiscent of Pink Floyd. “Daughters Of Cain” is the perfect retro sound to contrast the bubbly anti-pop that Yeasayer has perfected. That contrast is brought into focus with their seamless transition into the first single “I Am Chemistry”. This song seems to showcase all of the phases that Yeasayer have gone through in their career. Dance-able. Oozing-trippy-colors-you-can-taste. An element of folk. Actually, this track features guest vocals from folk singer Suzzy Roche. About 3 minutes into the song her pretty vocals make their appearance and it always makes me second guess if I accidentally put on a Sufjan Stevens album. This is quite a track, one of my favorites of 2016 so far. Though Amen & Goodbye is clearly moving away from a digital-heavy approach there are still moments that feel electronic in nature.
A component that I have always enjoyed about Yeasayer is their tendency to include a few songs that are pure fun. The lyrics might not be deep and sometimes you might think it is coming off as corny. Get off your high horse! I feel that way with “Silly Me”. It is the new “Electric Avenue” in my opinion. I wish I had a convertible so I could be blasting this song on a sunny day. Dancing and singing along while stopped at a traffic light. Looking at the car next to me and the occupants are all smiling and dancing along. Such good vibes.
There are a lot of layers to the onion that is Yeasayer. Amen & Goodbye is a showoff album. They flash a little bit of all of their sounds and abilities throughout.
If you want the OG sound that their debut you are going to love “Half Asleep”. If you’re into that jittery pop from Odd Blood you are going to dig “Dead Sea Scrolls”. The digital-heavy approach seen in Fragrant World was clearly a stepping stone on their journey as they have implemented what they enjoyed from that experience tastefully throughout the album. It is a fun listen and I don’t think their album title is an omen for the future of the band. Yeasayer have never been complacent and aren’t afraid to try new things or reinvent the old. In my interactions with people I hear a lot of “I wish they would just play All Hour Cymbals” or “I don’t like that folky stuff they do” and my favorite “they are too popular”. I wonder if this is stuff the band hears as well? I like to think they do and that is what the title Amen & Goodbye is in reference to. Don’t be stuck in the past. Don’t be complacent. Embrace your interests. Be good to people. To the people that don’t subscribe to those points…no need to put energy into them. Amen & Goodbye.
They are touring in support of this album. If you haven’t seen them play live before, make sure and fix that! I personally am going to see them play at The Gorge for Sasquatch! Music Festival and I can’t wait.
Reading up on Amen & Goodbye I learned that Yeasayer collaborated with a sculptor named David Altmejd to visually interpret the album. Per Mute, David Altmejd is a major influence on the band. The artwork for this gatefold vinyl is going to be something special. You can order a copy over here –> Yeasayer – Amen & Goodbye
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For the most part I only write about albums that I have personally purchased. I believe these albums are created by bands that deserve your support and money. If one person that didn’t know about one of these albums enjoys it and in turn supports that band…it is all worth it. There are links to purchase the music in posts, but I also urge you to go support your local record stores if possible!