Album: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, *

Fever To Tell, Polydor
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Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Fever to Tell has already scraped the lower regions of the Top 30 albums, which only goes to show how much we prize media-fuelled sensation – even "sensation" as tired and threadbare as this – over any deeper considerations. Riding on the coat-tails of The White Stripes and The Strokes – both of whom have far more to recommend them – these Yeah Yeah Yeahs traffic in little-girl-tantrum punk-rock of the most unimaginative kind, an uninspired, second-hand farrago of basic guitar riffage and snotty attitudinising that would seem quaintly archaic if it weren't so presumptuous about its own supposed shock value. But how naive and cossetted would you have to be to find shocking such lines as: "I got a man who makes me wanna kill/ We're all gonna burn in hell," ("Man") or: "Boy you're just a stupid bitch/ And girl you're just a no-good dick" ("Black Tongue")? Ooh, violence! And swearing! How outrageous! When you listen to Fever to Tell, it's virtually impossible not to thi

Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Fever to Tell has already scraped the lower regions of the Top 30 albums, which only goes to show how much we prize media-fuelled sensation – even "sensation" as tired and threadbare as this – over any deeper considerations. Riding on the coat-tails of The White Stripes and The Strokes – both of whom have far more to recommend them – these Yeah Yeah Yeahs traffic in little-girl-tantrum punk-rock of the most unimaginative kind, an uninspired, second-hand farrago of basic guitar riffage and snotty attitudinising that would seem quaintly archaic if it weren't so presumptuous about its own supposed shock value. But how naive and cossetted would you have to be to find shocking such lines as: "I got a man who makes me wanna kill/ We're all gonna burn in hell," ("Man") or: "Boy you're just a stupid bitch/ And girl you're just a no-good dick" ("Black Tongue")? Ooh, violence! And swearing! How outrageous! When you listen to Fever to Tell, it's virtually impossible not to think of the various original dark virtues of punk that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have overlooked: the vitriol of the Pistols, the humour of The Ramones, the passion of The Clash, the obstinacy of The Fall, the viscerality of Iggy, the aplomb of Wire... the list could go on and on. Instead, they've appropriated a purely formalist notion of punk style, which challenges nothing and nobody. There's even a track called "Yeah! New York", which toasts the world's smuggest cliché of a city as if it were still a hotbed of musical innovation, and not just the last refuge of washed-up old smack addicts and wannabe bohemians. It's the kind of album that makes punk sound antique – except that in their hands, it's a shoddy repro job.

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