Yeasayer – Amen & Goodbye (2016)

Yeasayer has been one of those bands that you find and you continue to wonder how their fan base never grows any bigger. They have infectious pop songs and crazy world music-infused rock electronic. They’ve done straight rock and reduced synthetic sounds, while maintaining a consistent originality that is hard to find these days.

I saw them in a little club in 2010 and then again in the same little club this year. Both times, I was blown away at the mastery of their craft. I also loved how some of the songs took on a very different feel when played live. I gained a new appreciation for the bassist, Ira Wolf Tuton, who played almost the entire set on a semi-hollow body fretless bass. At one point, he played the bass solely by fretting with one hand while shaking a maraca with his other hand. Another part had him doing a high up solo that I had always thought was played on keyboard or guitar from the recording.

Live music digressions aside, this new album is an excellent addition to their body of work. There are some serious gems, from the lead single I Am Chemistry to the dance-inducing Silly Me. What they do best are the harmonious chorus arrangements on songs like Half Asleep and Gerson’s Whistle and I Am Chemistry. This time around, they’ve also added a female vocalist to fill in the frequency gaps and it works very well.

The instrumental interludes are a bit of a weak point, but otherwise, I think this is a solid album and serious contender for year-end best lists.