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Yeah Yeah Yeahs return with synths

“It’s Blitz!,” the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ third full-length album, follows up from the punkish stylings of 2003′s “Fever to Tell” and 2006′s meaty rock “Show Your Bones” with synthesizer, not guitar, at the forefront.

And the first single, “Heads Will Roll,” is just the kind of dance-rock tune one can picture pumped through the speakers of an indie club in Los Angeles, NYC or just about any urban hipster-filled town.

“Off with your head/ Dance till you’re dead,” lead singer Karen O cries out, as drummer Brian Chase lays out a disco beat over Zinner’s delayed synth melody.

Does that make the album as punchy, feisty and memorable as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ other two? Not at all, but it does signal a shift for the band, with a maturation necessary for any musical act. “It’s Blitz!” combines an ’80s New Order dance flair with touches of vulnerability.

O still yelps and sings with conviction. Nick Zinner, even when replacing his fuzzed-out guitar with keyboards, creates dark momentum. It’s O’s quieter moments, though, that highlight her humanity and range.

“Dragon Queen” has a great Talking Heads vibe, with handclaps and staccato guitar complementing O’s New Wave croon and backing vocals from TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe.

A far cry from O’s rock queen onslaught of shouts and groans on “Fever to Tell,” but a side of the singer to explore. Sensitivity can be just as riot grrrl as fury.


Yeah Yeah Yeahs

“It’s Blitz!” (Interscope)

Genre: alt-rock

Grade: A

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