Yeah Yeah Yeah's
Now take this New York City band– three members, with a moniker hosting not just one yeah or two, but three yeahs. The success of Brian Chase, Karen O., and Nick Zinner doesn't only rely on the supernatural power of three- it's their ability to craft music that is sexy, strong, and spastic that plays a huge part.
In the beginning, lead singer Karen O., was attending Oberlin College in Ohio when she met drummer Brian Chase. But it wasn't until she transferred to New York University when she met guitar player Nick Zinner through some friends and started writing music with him that they recruited Chase after their original drummer left. In the year 2000 the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were born. With a handful of freshly written songs, the trio were soon booked on shows supporting the then up-and-coming Strokes and White Stripes. As a result, their artsy mixture of garage, pop, and punk rock was widely embraced by eager music fans. In 2001, Yeah Yeah Yeahs recorded their self-titled EP with Boss Hog's Jerry Teel and released it on their own imprint, Shifty. Wichita Recordings helped out with distributing the debut EP in the UK and Touch and Go Records reissued the disc in the US. In 2002 the band toured abundantly - in The States with Girls vs. Boys, Sleater Kinney, Liars, and JSBX; Joining JSBX once again in Europe and even headlining their own UK tour. Seeing Karen O. flinging her slender body in a genuinely expressive form, Nick Zinner's confident rock star poses behind his guitar and Brian Chase's subtle guy-in-the-shadows way of performing is worth putting up with the long line you might be in, awaiting entrance to one of their undoubtedly packed shows.
That self-titled debut EP was a great introduction to the band's modus operandi. The disc opens with "Bang" a strong, demanding track which throws you for a loop as you think you're at its end with it's pause and change in direction; From raw and raunchy rawk to hand claps atop a marching beat with guitar work like a newly freed hostage. "Mystery Girl" follows, a poppier hit that encourages you to swing your hips as if you're the missing main character from Rocky Horror Picture Show. "Art Star" presents a simpler yet more inventive, aggressive side to the band – showing both their primal expression with screams, and pop sensibilities with candy-sweet "do-do-do's." In contrast "Miles Away" is straight up and in your face - a sexy rock-and-roll song. The album's closing track, "Our Time," serves as a mocking, fist-in-the-air theme song with a punk stance. Every side Yeah Yeah Yeahs wanted you to introduce to you is presented on this EP in less than fifteen minutes.
Late in 2002, the band released the Machine EP (again on Touch and Go), showing a more artsy, angular side to themselves. This release, only a little more than seven minutes, may have intimidated those Yeah Yeah Yeahs fans more slanted towards their pop side. Most evident in their remix of "Pin, " which ended up as more of a soundscape sounding like the bridge when a fuzzy dream becomes a blurry nightmare: beautiful with a tinge of horror.
"Pin" becomes more vivid when it presents its true form on their greatest testimony to date: Their full-length, which came to fruition in the spring of 2003. The album called Fever To Tell, released on Interscope Records, was widely embraced by critics and fans – even by those who panned the band's prior releases. Perhaps because in this album Yeah Yeah Yeahs finally show their romantic side. Well, their version of romance anyway. Sure, there are songs like "Rich" and "Date With The Night" which exhibits the band that we're used to - their usual debaucherous, hair flinging, party-self. For the rest of the album we have songs like "Fever To Tell" – a song in tribute to affection so potent it's violent, an emotion continued within the album in "Tick" and the aforementioned "Pin." "Black Tongue" shows us the wrath of this love, once it fails. Songs become gentler, more sincere and personal still as the record comes to a close in "Maps" and in "Modern Romance." As a whole – the band doesn't let up on its trademark straightforwardness or songwriting's simplicity, but they show that they can refine it and make it better still.
Less is more: A three-word statement that has proven a solid piece of advice or even a declaration. In this case it holds to be true, but more importantly the band confirm that less doesn't have to mean boring or redundant. You can feel safe to conclude that the band's charm has little to do with the power of three - but instead with the power of great songs, fetching style, and a convincing manner of performance – whether it be hearing something recorded in the studio or watching the band live. Yeah Yeah Yeahs continue to grow as musicians, performers, and songwriters – it seems this is just the beginning of a long, expanding career for this trio.