The always euphoric Brooklyn-based art rock band Yeasayer have released their first record since 2012.
With each new record they reach out to a new and broader audience. Yeasayer know how to make a statement with their art. They live it, breathe it, and play it.
They are not just a musical experience but their presence on stage is an experience in itself. They bring out the best in people, and when you hear their music and watch them play there are no worries or concerns that you have racing through your mind. You are connected to the music and by the music. Everyone is having a singular bonding experience that is unique to any other show you got to.
The newest record, Amen & Goodbye, took a new and challenging approach. Recording to 2” tape in upstate New York, the group tried to make sure this album was raw and had an organic feeling to it.
The band isolated themselves in the countryside where they were living on a farm and having the joy of creating music as well as being able to take on the roles of farmers, while wrangling goats when they escaped and accidently recording the electric fence that would find it’s way into the songs.
“Daughter of Cain” is Yeasayer’s strong opening to the listener after such a long time away, and it sounds like their modernized attempt at Pink Floyd. And damn it works. The haunting choir and the deceivingly innocent synths. The only thing it’s missing is the crazy breakdown into a beautiful bridge.
The song is just a teaser for us. It transitions wonderfully into “I Am Chemistry” making it all sound like a cohesive tune. “I Am Chemistry” is a five-minute sci-fi experience. You’re taken on this journey through a “sulfur dichloride with ethylene” and melodic synthesizers, bringing that beautiful choir back and of course droplets of piano sprinkled throughout.
It’s obvious that Keating is trying to make some correlation between the toxic chemicals and himself. He views himself as this toxic enigma, but never tells us what brought on this heavy way of thinking.
“Prophecy Gun” Just the name alone is fantastic! Whatever way someone decides to interpret it, it’s something that feels like it’s in a weird limbo of hopeful, yet completely destructive. The tune has that same aura to it. There’s a soothing softness that feels reassuring and comforts you. The song is great in its simplicity. It carries the most out of any other song, with very few words and provides solace. “Gersons Whistle” has a stoic quality about it. The drums are strong and the vocals tenacious. With small breaks of piano, a light strumming bass in the background and the choir making their appearance yet again.
So of course the big question is, Is this the last Yeasayer album? Was this there farewell to us? It’s not made explicit, but it’s in a way implied in both the content and the name of the album itself. It’s hard to tell just by the subject matter. Yeasayer has had a long fruitful career but I don’t think we are ready to see them go. As a group they have only grown, and it would be heartbreaking to see them cut such an incredible career so short.