Throughout their career, Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been near-impossible to pigeonhole. The band’s sound, while always rooted in indie-dance and classic punk, has evolved over the years as they’ve become more comfortable collaborators and stronger songwriters. Moreover, for a band of their stature and popularity they’ve never shied away from weirdness, be it in the form of unconventional vocal patterns from Karen O or noisily textured soundscapes from guitarist/keyboardist Nick Zinner.
YYY’s new album Mosquito, their first in four years, succeeds by being different while maintaining a somewhat predictable sense of unpredictability, if you will. Most of the songs are long, winding stretches of gothic noise, with Karen O’s powerful voice and unique inflections hovering over the dissonance, a schism between accessibility and the avant garde. This dichotomy is why their collaboration with Dr. Octagon, while hodgepodge on the surface, makes sense: Keith Thornton has made waves in the hip-hop underground for nearly 30 years through experimentation, outright skill, an unabashed willingness to try anything and for creating strong concepts and personas within that realm. “Buried Alive” melds these two aesthetically different but oddly similar artists together rather seamlessly.