Intentionally or not, Yeasayer’s sophomore disc Odd Blood has the potential to induce compelling Eighties flashbacks. All the hallmarks of that decade’s new wave/synth-pop are present — breathy I-wish-I-could-be-Bryan Ferry (ooh, that vibrato!), temporary-heartbreak crooning, percolating and bleating synthesizers, tinkling keyboards, video-game sound effects, electronically processed singing, mechanized rhythms, very little guitar, blithe attitude, and “UH-ah-ohh” choruses. On one hand, Blood has a harmonious, fuzzy-comforting retro vibe, evoking the all those “new wave nights” in Eighties Pittsburgh bars where fifty-cent cups of beer would dull the inevitable ennui. (Hey, it was something to do back-when.) On the other, few of Blood‘s songs have true staying power — like the canon of their mascara-ed, hair-in-their-faces forebears, you forget what you heard (and felt) a half-hour later. If your life is incomplete without just one more album album by Depeche Mode, Visage, Martha & the Muffins, or Ultravox as they were in their respective primes, Yeasayer has the album for you.
The only songs where Yeasayer put their own spin on Eighties synth-pop, building upon what went before, are the sophisticated, spooky, somewhat dissonant “Strange Reunions” and the somber, percussive opener “The Children.” Otherwise, Odd Blood is very pleasant but ephemeral fluff. (Secretly Canadian)