Show Your Bones

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Interscope, 2006

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/28/2006

Yes, it's polished.

That's the most frequent adjective that record store clerks have used to describe the sound of the YeahYeahYeahs' new album, Show Your Bones. Out of the batch of garage rock revival bands that have come out in the early part of this decade, the YeahYeahYeahs have distanced themselves from their peers by both avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump and releasing an album that is a major departure from their debut, Fever To Tell.

The transformation from the ragged, punkish sound of their previous album to the polished sound of their latest album may draw comparisons to Hole. But while Celebrity Skinmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 was a tarnished turd with one or two great songs embedded in the mess, Show Your Bones is far more consistent and rewarding with repeat listens.

Show Your Bones has a definite new-wave feel that's a cross between New Order and early Pretenders on a mean streak. The strutting, staccato pace of "Phenomena" and the morose "Warrior" fit snugly with songs that could easily translate to the dance floor with minimal remixing. Brian Chase's drumming and Nick Zinner's guitar work make these dance floor-to-mosh pit transitions sometimes in the same song (see "Mysteries"). In their live environment, Zinner has routinely showed he has the stuff of rock guitar greats. But nothing in his live shows supporting Fever to Tell will prepare listeners for the range he shows on Show Your Bones.

The lyrics remain the stuff of breakup heaven. In "Cheated Hearts," Karen O sings about being "cheated by the opposite of love," but her confidence leads right into the chorus, in which she yells "sometimes I think that I'm bigger than the sound." This could easily be a slight wink to critics who have analyzed everything from her lyrics to her beer-spouting stage presence.

If there is one flaw in Show Your Bones, it would be its almost too-consistent feel. No doubt it's one of the strongest albums you'll hear all year. However, it's difficult to pinpoint a standout classic song in the mix. When you finish listening to it, you get the feeling that you have listened to a great album, but at the same time, feel a bit empty that no singular song grabbed you by the neck. Still, that is a problem that most bands would love to have.

While Karen O will likely to continue to be the centerpiece of attention from critics and fans alike, Show Your Bones is definitely a group effort. She may hold your attention on "Warrior," but it's hard not to get caught up in Chase's pulsating drumming. The closing track "Turn Into" features a great solo by Zinner and Karen O's simplistic line "I know what I know" lingers long after the track ends. It may not be the knockout that fans wanted, but Show Your Bones is an album that will likely please current fans and bring in a slew of new converts.

Rating: B+

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© 2006 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Interscope, and is used for informational purposes only.