Flashback to a hot July 2008 afternoon in Brooklyn.
I’m standing in a emptied pool, watching Liars do their thing, feeling the reverbs of the former band, The Fuck Buttons. As I am making my way out of the pool, I notice a familiar face by the audio tent. He was wearing all black over his matchstick figure and breathing a cigarette in like there was no tomorrow. There stood Yeah Yeah Yeah’s guitarist Nick Zimmer, probably posting a comment on some Killing Joke fansite from his iPhone. Without hesitation I approached him, shook his hand, and said,
“I’m really looking forward to the new album man.”
Nick half smiles and simply states,
Finally, that day is upon. Yeah Yeah Yeah’s have digitally released It’s Blitz! a month early (because some douche released it on torrent sites a month before that). And my mind can only think of one thing to say about it:
That bastard could have given me a heads up!
I say this assuming you’ve heard the singel “Zero” and have noticed the lack of guitars. Well, the album has a serious lack of Zimmer’s guitar. Instead, there’s a serious overload of synth. But what can I say: they make it work…..very well I might add.
Blitz! is a fucking groovy game of Twister that starts off with the right foot on the dingy club sound that their 2007 Is Is EP first introduced. Tracks like “Heads Will Roll” and “Faces” showcase this new “dance” side of YYY’s. On these, Zimmer’s guitar is virtually missing. Instead that energy is directed into synth riffs that are unmistakably tasty ones. And “Dragon Queen” is a funky gem that probably has LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy crying into his espresso every time he hears it.
For 1/3 of the album, YYY’s put their left hand on old territory. Scaled back from the copy/paste treatment that 2006’s Show Your Bones LP got, Blitz! throws in a few tracks like the outstanding “Soft Shock” and “Dull Life” to remind you that YYY’s still retain their punk roots.
Listening to the last bit of Blitz! is like putting your right ear on David Sitek’s giant cranium. The audio wizard and TV on the Radio-ite works the board for part of this album. His influence is easily felt on “Skeletons,” “Runaway” and “Little Shadow.” These cuts really flex Karen O’s voice and change your mind that she’s just a “yelper.” However, these tracks also feel a little out of place among the thick skin the rest of the songs bring in. While they are great tracks, they may have you pressing the doomed “next” button because your hips suddenly stopped wiggling.
It’s Blitz! is undoubtably YYY’s most artistic and complex album to date. It’s a great springboard for what they can eventually become, maybe making the Pretenders album you always wished had existed. But don’t expect your friends to like It’s Blitz! immediately. It takes time and patience for this one to fully hatch.