In a fair and just world every part of me should be repelled by this New York 4 piece when the slightest scratch at the surface reveals such facts as: 2 of the founding members met in a barbershop quartet, the other one quit his rock opera to join the band, they describe themselves as World Music. If any one is still reading may I say that this is by no means a fair and just world and the Yeasayer's debut album is actually quite good.
All the facts stated above are certainly cringe worthy but can't be ignored and the bands success is very much due to these contributing factors rather than despite them. The fact that they hail from New York and from punk roots ultimately saves them from descending into the world music pit of obscurity that only spits out an act every now and again into the corner of Jools Holland's Later... stage. They construct complicated and chaotic arrangements using everything from tribal drums, cascading synths, soaring chanted harmonies and rhythmic guitars.
All Hour Cymbals took some time to make though the band have been playing for many years now. They feel their decision to release their work to the world has come in the wake of a resurgence in awareness of non-Strokes sounding music in New York and with bands like Beirut making serious waves worldwide the ground has never been richer. 2080 is the debut single and is the central song on the album with its Fleetwood Mac infused vocals. Their website claims "In 2080 the only thing that will save us from terror is enlightenment." This is a grand and admirable statement and sums up the concerns of the band.
Unfortunately the music sometimes fails to live up to such moral intentions. The mid way song No Need To Worry sends the album into confusing territory as it ambles along with no clear direction. This song alone starts to try our patience with the soaring, layered harmonies and it takes a while for the album to regain our focus. The ominous pound of Waiting For Wintertime goes some of the way but the record trails off into a murky concoction of indecipherable and repeated vocals and music that offers little in the way of direction.
This second half of the record is a shame as the first is so surprising. This band offer a refreshing blend of cultures but don't get the mix quite right first time. It is clear that they possess a rare commodity in indie music these days and that is open mindedness. It's hard to say where this band will take their sound next but they will be worth keeping an eye on.