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Yeah Yeah Yeahs: 'Show Your Bones'

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a three-member rock band that formed in Brooklyn, New York in 2000. They have no bass player, but they work up a jagged, punk-indebted sound that's made them one of the most acclaimed young bands of this millennium.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' first album, 2003's Fever to Tell, was a lovably messy record that combined socked-out riffs, cascading sheets of noise and the caterwauling and cracked moans of singer Karen O. The album sold more than half a million copies, thanks to the band's hip cachet, the marketing strength of their major label, Interscope Records, and the song "Maps" -- a gorgeous near-ballad with a video that became a hit on MTV2.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' new record, Show Your Bones, is a big step forward for the band. With help from Sam Spiegel -- a hip-hop-schooled producer who's also the brother of filmmaker Spike Jonze -- Show Your Bones has a big, spacious sound, some pretty, soft moments and fully-formed songs with big choruses and spiky hooks. The result is a dog-eared record that any hard-rock fan with curious ears might love.

Karen O.'s lyrics are inscrutable as ever, but she's still a dynamic frontwoman. Between the way she prowls around onstage and a fashion sense that combines bright 1980s colors and punk tatters, Miss O. is fast becoming a pop icon for the MySpace generation. Sometimes on Show Your Bones, she's a pained lover, sometimes she's a cryptic chanteuse and sometimes she's a sort of good-natured cheerleader.

For anyone who remembers Karen O. flinging beer on her audiences at tiny club gigs during the band's early days, the joy in the new songs is the way the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have learned to go pop without compromising their free-wheeling exuberance. Even on leaner cuts, the band plow ahead with supreme confidence -- and they only sound like themselves.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Christian Hoard
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