Personnel: Tunde Adebimpe, Karen O (vocals); Nick Zinner (guitar, guitars, keyboards, bass instrument, drum machine); Imaad Wasif (guitar); Jane Scarpantoni (cello); Stuart Bogie (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Eric Biondo (trumpet); Greg Kurstin (piano); Brian Chase (drums, cymbals, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Mark "Spike" Stent.
Recording information: Long View Farm Studios, North Brookfield, MA; Seedy Underbelly, Valley Village, CA; Sonic Ranch Studios, Tornillo, TX; Stay Gold Studios, Brooklyn, NY; The Boat, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographers: Eric Uhlir; David Belisle; Autumn de Wilde.
On their third full-length, critically embossed New York trio the Yeah Yeah Yeahs embrace immersive dancefloor sonics … la Daft Punk and MGMT full bore with a metamorphosis that works remarkably for a band with noisy avant-garage beginnings. Placing Karen O's signature carnal snark astride eruptive synthesizer throbs, "Zero" and "Heads Will Roll" provide a dramatic opening one-two punch. Somewhat surprisingly given the album's title, the band subsequently opts for mellower, more amorphous tracks like the almost Celtic "Skeletons" and the orchestral "Runaway," both of which foreground a cinematic sweep and a more pensive, tuneful Ms. O.
"Dull Life" finds them hitching their trademark explosive choruses to a Brian Eno-esque soundscape, while "Dragon Queen" one-ups the Ting Tings with a layered and deeply satisfying electro-funk groove anchored by the trio's beat master, Brian Chase. The high-profile mid-career rock-band jump to the disco has been tried before, but IT'S BLITZ! suits the YYYs better than, say, U2 with POP. Nick Zinner's affected guitar breaks have always had the precision and texture of electro's synth riffs, and Ms. O's sing-songy hooks possess a lot more lipsmacking sensuality than Bono's ever did.
Rolling Stone (p.82) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The turn towards the dance floor makes sense: Yeah Yeah Yeahs are drawing on a tradition of arty New York dance punk that extends from the Talking Heads to TV on the Radio, whose guitarist, Dave Sitek, co-produced IT'S BLITZ!"
Spin (p.84) - "[T]he alternative pop album of the decade -- one that imbues the Killers' HOT FUSS and MGMT's ORACULAR SPECTACULAR with a remarkable emotional depth and finesse."
Spin (p.33) - Ranked #2 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2009" -- "IT'S BLITZ! did what a third album should: push a successful formula in a thrillingly risky direction."
Entertainment Weekly (p.64) - "Karen O spends much of IT'S BLITZ! delivering her yearning yowl over gently burbling keyboard chords instead of Zinner's trademark circular-saw riffs....Subbing out an instrument and switching up the tempo that way is a fairly radical change." -- Grade: B+
Entertainment Weekly (p.102) - Included in Entertainment Weekly's 'Best Albums of 2009' -- "Nick Zinner's hipster-Hendrix guitar squalls are replaced with moody-smoothy synth work."
Down Beat (p.58) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he deeper you move into IT'S BLITZ! the better it gets thanks to the variety and delivery."
Blender (Magazine) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "IT'S BLITZ is the sound of a band reborn with new momentum, and on an album that requires dancing, the message is clear: It doesn't matter where you came from. Just keep moving."
Pitchfork (Website) - "[T]he Yeah Yeah Yeahs still create great, compelling pop-rock, largely because of the way the songs themselves are organized, with conventional verse-chorus structures repeatedly eschewed in favor of detours, miniature grooves and lengthy asides..."
Clash (magazine) (p.106) - "With new influences and some widescreen moments, IT'S BLITZ finds Yeah Yeah Yeahs refreshed, rejuvenated and raring to go."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.96) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Opener 'Zero' sees them wholeheartedly embracing the 80s revival wave -- only, trust them to do it with a fresh rawness that's as invigorating as anything on their debut EP."
Uncut (magazine) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "IT'S BLITZ! bristles and sighs with the confidence of a group that has found a way to evolve into something glossy and commercially aerodynamic without entirely losing sight of its grimy garage-rock past."
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