Like MGMT, Animal Collective and Vampire Weekend, Brooklyn's Yeasayer occupy a space where techno-conscious indie psych-rockers play around with left-field dance and world-music influences.
The resulting eclectic confections threaten to spiral off into cosmic nonsense, but remain anchored in pop territory by the solid drumming of top session man Jerry Marotta, one of the crucial changes from their more lightweight 2007 debut. The other major difference is their immersion in electronica, from the 1980s-influenced electropop of the Depeche Mode-ish techno slow-burner "Love Me Girl" and "I Remember". Perversely, they open the album with the least persuasive track "The Children", on which a galumphing marimba groove tinged with menace supports a vocal treated beyond the point of legibility; but quickly compensate with the most engaging song, "Ambling Alp", whose echoing rattle and hum pop recalls XTC offering life lessons with room to accommodate an abstract electronica breakdown section. Apart from the hazy "Strange Reunion", the temptation to slip into flanged psychedelic whimsy is just about resisted, while the swingy, loping momentum of the infectious "Rome" and especially "Mondegreen", with its syncopated pop-funk horns recalling Yello, steer things in a more focused direction.
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