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Album Review | Indie Rock

On ‘Mosquito,’ buzz-worthy tunes from Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Josh Haner/The New York Times

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Does the reverent gospel choir that flares up on the opening “Sacrilege” need to be there? Probably not, but it’s one of several refreshing diversions on “Mosquito,” the inspired new album by Yeah Yeah Yeahs after a detour into synth-pop on 2009’s “It’s Blitz!” The trio of singer Karen O, guitarist (and Sharon native) Nick Zinner, and drummer Brian Chase don’t quite return to the jagged indie rock that made them stars a decade ago, but instead turn over new stones. The feral wail that Karen O unleashed on early albums has been smoothed out to something more emotive here. She’s forlorn on “Subway,” a wayward ballad that cleverly uses the sound of a train on the tracks as percussion. She uses the analogy of a mosquito to imply she’ll “suck your blood” on the more rock-oriented title track. Hip-hop artist Dr. Octagon turns up for a guest rap on “Buried Alive,” and a tinge of dub underpins “Under the Earth.” It’s the group’s most far-flung album, supporting Karen O’s recent claim that “Mosquito” offers something for everyone.
(Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Under the Earth”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs play at the House of Blues on May 12.

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