At this point in their career, Yeasayer feel like they’re trading off a lot of goodwill from past victories. They still sell out venues and draw hipsters by the wheelbarrow, but it’s getting increasingly hard to find anything of real substance in their work.
Amen And Goodbye continues that new tradition, a discordant set of songs that doesn’t really seem to settle into any sort of groove. Their opening overture may segue nicely into I Am Chemistry, but that song in itself is akin to listening to three different songs. Maybe they’re advocating the use of movements in popular music, but five minutes isn’t enough to communicate that.
That’s not to say this is a record without merit – if the sub-Arcade Fire effort of Silly Me is a little jarring, it’s curiously offset by the inventive melodies of Half Asleep. But those inspired moments are rare, as Yeasayer are back to tick-box quirk-rock with attention-seeking names like Divine Simulacrum. “Find your own way to rebel,” they sing on Uma, and it’s hard not to will Yeasayer to do the same – this is all very pleasant if unoriginal, and certainly veering us more towards saying goodbye than asking for an amen.