Yeah Yeah Yeahs have always been an unpredictable band, willing to defy expectations from album to album. Their debut Fever To Tell introduced an unashamed garage rock band with minimal riffs and rough edges left in production. Their follow up Show Your Bones was more subdued and intimate with subtle layers of keyboard, bells, sirens, handclaps and prominent use of acoustic guitars. The band made a huge leap on their third album It’s Blitz, which introduced a new glittery disco sound with the glossy production to match. Mosquito continues the band’s evolution and features some of the most diverse and sonically intriguing tracks from them.
The album goes from synth experimentation on ‘These Paths’ and the feature of rapper Kool Keith in the guise of Dr Octagon on ‘Buried Alive’, to the more garage rock inspired title track ‘Mosquito’, moving again to a dub inspired vibe on ‘Under The Earth’. Variety is certainly the name of the game on this album as the trio plays around with multiple genres. Thrilling lead single ‘Sacrilege’ features a gospel choir, usually used to ground a rock band in authenticity. Instead the choir’s sudden appearance elevates the dirty elegance of the track to dazzling new heights. ‘Subway’ is a personal highlight of the album and is the band’s ode to New York City. Rather than an up-tempo allegory of fast traffic and bright lights utilized by countless other bands, the song uses a train sample at the centre of a spacious production to describe monotonous emptiness in a place full of life but devoid of living.
Every album does have its low points, however and Mosquito is no exception. The alien focused new wave novelty ‘Area 52’ could have very easily been left of the album. The declarations of eternal love that are ‘Always’ and ‘Wedding Song’ may well be too sentimental for some listeners. However, even these have their own appeal and after multiple listens I started to enjoy them immensely.
Ultimately Mosquito is ambitious and crams a lot of ideas into its 47 minute run time. It may not be the most consistent album by the trio, nor their best, but the zany charm alone warrants a listen. Like a good piece of pulp fiction, Mosquito provides enough escapism that will keep you coming back for more.By Damian O'Sullivan