‘Show Your Bones’ shows a different side of Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Ben Breier

Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ second album doesn’t suffer a sophomore slump. COURTESY OF INTERSCOPE RECORDS

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ musical pathway is a lot like those double-sided sponges in everyone’s kitchen – you’ve got the flat, navy blue side with months of dirt and grime tracked into the pores, and you’ve got the puffy amber soft material on the reverse side, still almost as new as the day you bought the thing.

If the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ debut record, Fever to Tell is the filthy blue side obscured in chunks of rock ‘n’ roll sludge, then the band’s second full-length Show Your Bones is the vastly more polished yellow side of the sponge.

The record begins with “Gold Lion,” which interjects tambourines and acoustic guitar with progressive-rock fanfare that is immediately recognized as being standard Yeah Yeah Yeahs material.

The follow-up is “Way Out” – a song that opens with an introduction that you can practically sing “Maps,” the band’s biggest single off of Fever to Tell, right on top of without missing a beat. While the majority of the album sounds more pretty than its predecessor, “Way Out” is a bit more jagged than “Maps” – lead singer Karen O implements a rock ‘n’ roll vocal drag at the beginning of the song that lets the track stand out.

If the occasional southern drawl is the replacement for the spastic screaming on the band’s first record, it’s a shame – the screaming and ferocity of the guitar really allowed for the band’s passion to break through, but Karen O’s trademark howls are all but absent from Show Your Bones.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Show Your Bones

Released on Interscope Records

Stater rating (out of five): ***

“Dudley” almost sounds like a nursery rhyme, even though the lyrics are anything but infantile. Karen O warbles “My dear, you’ve been used / I’m breaking the news” in a very matter-of-fact fashion that still maintains a certain quality of innocence that only a nursery rhyme has.

Despite the fact that the group has suppressed passion in favor of polish on Show Your Bones, the album manages to show some new angles of the band, and that’s never a bad thing.

Contact assistant ALL editor Ben Breier at [email protected].