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A Magazine for Sheffield

Amen & Goodbye

Emerging from the same creative mileau as Gang Gang Dance and Black Dice, Yeasayer, four LPs and a decade into their career, are a familiar feature of New York's experimental diaspora. With their modus operandi firmly established, Amen & Goodbye sees the group consolidating their previous explorations with polished production and luxurious studio sheen.

The band are musical magpies, pinching some echoey dub production for 'Computer Canticle1' and nicking a bit of country guitar on 'Half Asleep'. The latter even features the abrupt appearance of a vaguely Celtic choir, as if the Mediæval Bæbes crept into the studio during recording. But whatever unlikely sources Yeasayer transform into instruments, all of these songs could just about be called pop music, especially the summer jangle of 'Silly Me', with its breezy, festival-friendly chorus and bright electro melody.

The band's habit of alternating between lead vocalists gives the frustrating illusion that you're listening to two different albums, and it's hard to square the somewhat forgettable alt-rock vocals on 'Gerson's Whistle' and lead single 'I Am Chemistry' with the inventiveness of the music around them (the latter appears to feature the cast of Annie warning about poisonous garden plants), which remains the real draw.

Following the relatively straightforward art rocker 'Dead Sea Scrolls', 'Prophecy Gun' could be mistaken for an unearthed New Age cassette, with its eerie mantra, "You hear the calling / You want to spread the word," sung in a naive, childlike falsetto. The sound the band keep returning to though is West Coast harmony, no more so than on the beatless opener 'Daughters of Cain', which sees them channelling the Beach Boys at their most blissed out.