Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
"Everybody's got the bomb, but if the need stays strong we're gonna dance til we're gone." It"s the first line that Yeasayer lead singer Chris Keating gives forth in a song that postdates everything that is on the band"s debut album -- All Hour Cymbals -- which is set to be released worldwide at the end of next month. It is, in essence, that which we already knew about a record that it exists outside of, but from the same hands. It"s what cracks the code on the overriding thematic nature of the group"s preoccupations - not that the message is hidden or needs relaxed eyeballs to formulate, it"s there, but this just comes right out, says it and gives you a dinner mint for the aftermath.
The band has made a record of apocalyptic confirmation. Those extreme, bold predictions of Al Gore and real-life scientists, not just former vice presidents, of the rapidly approaching demise at the hands of all of us who have enjoyed its fruits and bounty most are not the beliefs of, well, extremists or those bolder than their britches should allow.
It"s a precipitous view of the looming catastrophic changes that are beginning to take hold of the land we call home, like an owl sinking its talons into a completely suspecting field mouse that"s too fat and slow and lazy to move and escape the death grip, and in the societal climate as well, with all-around anger and suspicion replacing benevolence and thinking the best case scenarios are still ripe for the picking. The sky is falling, the air is starting to burn up and should you lift your nose to that falling, balmy sky, you"ll smell it. It"s a fight. There"s always a fight in the air. We wage them with ourselves, everyone else different from us and with the natural earth that is now sickly and rebelling.
Yeasayer, a Brooklyn band that should be seen as an essential compatriot of TV On The Radio, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and The Thermals for their ability to cut through all of the thickest bullshit and lay the emergencies out on the table like blueprints. The doomsday - despite the "comforting" Starbucks chain spreading into all dots on maps and the relative dismissal of anything being wrong or off - is closer now than it"s ever been and perhaps that can always be said. Doomsday is always closer than it was yesterday, just in principal and within the boundaries of the laws of odds.
Keating, Anand Wilder, Luke Fasano and Ira Wolf Tuton mine the downer subjects for what they"re worth and then decorate what they"ve collected with significant indications that would suggest that the negatives should be entertaining and danceable. All Hour Cymbals is an album that feels like a future time that we"ll never ever reach. It feels like an imagining of a world that will find a way to live on in fairy tales of darkness, for all of the deaf ears that will never get a chance to hear them.
The songs are nothing of these days, but of the remote possibility of the continuation of existence long after the plug should have been pulled. When will the official end be? We"ll know it when we see it - that lucid, recognizably totaling flash of white light will be blinding and forever. It will leave us flattened. Let"s dance to our demise, eh Yeasayer? It could be kind of fun to trounce on the ashes before everything"s burned. It"s not jumping the gun if there"s certainty in the pudding.
The Daytrotter interview:
*Where are you right now?*
YEASAYER: We just spent a few days on a farm run by a man called "The Doctor" in Ken, 3 hours south of Mumbai, India. We witnessed a Hindu cremation and went swimming in a waterfall during a monsoon. The monkeys by the side of the road were friendly and the rickshaws were incredibly dangerous. We rented a Bollywod movie set for the day and plan on doing some shooting with our friend Shivraj Santhakumar for an upcoming Yeasayer DVD. We have taught a bunch of hijras the lyrics to some songs and they're going to sing and dance and look beautiful.
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