Given that in the last decade Karen O & co have pretty much never set a foot wrong, it’s rather hard to be objective about any Yeah Yeah Yeahs release. It’s hard to find an act so surprising and challenging, especially one that’s courted so much universal love since their debut.
Album opener Sacrilege managed to send us all in a tizz with its barmy-brilliant use of a gospel choir. It pulses with O’s trademark fuzz, leading up to this almighty crescendo of praise-Jesus, arms-in-the-air group chorus. Subway takes it down a notch, a sombre second hit that echoes Skeletons.
Title track Mosquito is YYYs back to the rip-roaring territory we’re used to, but once again the band have adapted their overall sound – if Fever to Tell was avant-punk, Show Your Bones garage rock, and It’s Blitz dance-rock, then Mosquito falls into a more dark electronica bracket. The influence of producer Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio) is more than obvious, as at times this sounds less like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and more like an iteration of his Maximum Balloon side project – a rather unwelcome rap from Dr Octagon on Buried Alive merely confirms this.
There are moments of brilliance here, but most of them seem to have been expended in Sacrilege; while Mosquito is an above-average album, it lacks the memorable quality of the rest of its canon. Karen O we still absolutely adore you, but take it from some hardcore fans: when we look back and think of our favourite YYYs album, Mosquito won’t be it.