Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-04-28

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' debut album, Fever to Tell, has been released amidst a flurry of hype borne aloft by a punishing touring schedule, blistering live shows and a superb five-track EP. It also helps that singer Karen O is the most charismatic frontwoman since Deborah Harry or Kim Deal--stylish, confident, assertive and almost supernaturally cool. Not since fellow New Yorkers the Strokes debuted had expectations been so high for a new band, so it was perhaps inevitable that Fever to Tell would be bit of a disappointment.

But a disappointing debut is not necessarily a bad album. Fever to Tell is an energetic burst of indie noise rock (with guitar producer extraordinaire Alan Moulder at the dials, how could it be anything but?). Karen O pants, warbles and yelps her lyrics with unbridled enthusiasm and an in-your-face sexuality over guitarist Nick Zinner's Jon Spencer-inspired riffs and drummer Brian Chase's pounding backbeat (in contemporary artsy-garage-rock style, they've opted for no bass player). This simple line-up gives everything a raw, primal edge, reminiscent of their live shows (especially on the lolloping "Cold Light" and the frenzied single "Date with the Night"). It's just a shame that none of the tracks here are quite as good as those on their EP (none of which, bafflingly, are here). So, rather than having a sampling of catchy rock anthems (no "Miles Away", no "Our Time", no "Mystery Girl"), Fever to Tell is pretty much solid album tracks from start to finish. Granted, that's no bad thing (how many contemporary albums can really be listened to all the way from beginning to end?), but it does feel like unrealised potential. Fever to Tell is a good first album; hopefully, the second will be a great one. --Robert Burrow

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