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Critiques CD: Yeasayer | Fragrant World

As the followup to 2010’s successful Odd Blood, in which Yeasayer intrigued listeners with organic ups and downs paired with well-thought-out instrumental and synthetic flourishes, Fragrant World leaves much to be desired. The vocal delivery – excessively adorned with dated, robotic-sounding voice effects – is disappointing when looking back on lead singer Chris Keating’s powerful yet vulnerable singing in the likes of 2010 singles “Tightrope” and “Ambling Alp” and 2007‘s breakthrough track “2080” off All Hour Cymbals, all of which account for their most enchanting material to date. The sound verges on dark electronica, a significant shift in style; but paired with the cold metallic vocals the whole package is left sounding both monotonous and overwrought. It’s unfortunate to force such a distinctive sound and singing style into the electro-mold when it works so well when it’s more down-to-earth. But previous releases notwithstanding, Fragrant World by itself could certainly be endearing to fans of the genre.