Yeasayer Offers Vibrant Palette Amidst Hook Laden Indie Rock On ‘Erotic Reruns’

Erotic Reruns, the fifth album by Brooklyn trio Yeasayer, is the band’s most accessible album to date. For better or worse, it has less experimentation than previous efforts, leading to fewer standout moments but also none of the missteps that have popped up from time to time. It is a collection of hook-laden indie pop combining rock and electronic elements to create a music painting that is less abstract than previous efforts but just as beautiful.

Each Yeasayer album has its own sound as the band constantly seeks new artistic expressions of its music. In terms of musical tone, Erotic Reruns is most similar to 2016’s Amen & Goodbye, with its vibrant palette and sense of optimism. As with previous albums, multi-instrumentalists Anand Wilder and Chris Keating share vocal duties, both taking turns in the lead and often singing harmonies.

Album opener “People I Loved” immediately hooks listeners with its coupling of a mid-tempo dance beat, Wilder’s funky rhythm guitar, and a slow, slinky bass groove. The already catchy song kicks into earwig status in the chorus. “Instead of cutting you off and rolling my eyes, I could’ve praised your work, could’ve feigned surprised,” Wilder sings in a smooth falsetto.

The cynical “Crack a Smile” contrasts a danceable bass strut with rock guitar while contrasting Keating’s hatred with a lover with his inability to walk away. “Say that your miracles are divine; I can see evil in your eyes,” Keating sings over Wilder’s power chords and his own discordant synth lines. “The manifestation of something I despise.”

The dark and gothic “I’ll Kiss You Tonight” manages to be melancholic and infectious at the same time, blending Wilder’s deep, brooding vocals with a bouncing rhythm and Keating’s pulsing snyth. The song, like “Crack a Smile,” shows Wilder dealing with a love-hate relationship. “I know you think I’m a disgrace, but I can’t resist your authoritarian embrace,” Wilder sings.

Though most of the songs deal with relationship issues, Yeasayer delves into politics as well. “Blue Skies Dandelions” references the firing of former FBI Director James Comey while “Let Me Listen In On You” deals with the loss of privacy in a modern surveillance state. In the latter track, ominous strings and synths create a paranoid mood in the verses. During the choruses, the song feigns toward optimism, with the creepy digital effects being replaced by an acoustic guitar. It’s all a façade, though, as Wilder sings, “I’d like to help you but my hands are tied,” there’s an unspoken message that any help comes with a steep price. “Don’t look so nervous; you’ve got nothing to hide,” he sings.

Though Erotic Reruns doesn’t have any of the awe-inspiring moments of some of Yeasayer’s early work, it’s a solid album from start to finish, trimmed of all fat and without a bad note. A few more compositional risks would’ve served the band well, but as a whole the album finds the Brooklyn band in top form, packing its nine songs with dance-hall energy, commanding grooves, and song compositions that stretch the limits of pop music while remaining easy to digest.

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