The recorded output of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs — save, perhaps, for its trash-punk debut EP and moments on 2003's Fever to Tell — hasn't been able to compare to the trio's live shows, which are carried by the herky-jerky charisma of vocalist Karen O. But this year's "Zero" comes close to capturing the artsy NYC act's hipster-lightning in a bottle: A quivering guitar beehive quietly murmurs as Ms. O shrieks and coos her way through a chorus, before the song crescendos and explodes in a new-wave jumble of keyboards, steady heartbeats and rumbling riffs. The rest of the band's latest album, It's Blitz!, turns up the theatrics, in the form of breathy discopop ("Dragon Queen"), cinematic orchestral mood pieces ("Runaway") and even Tori Amos-like introspection ("Hysteric"). In other words, despite the occasional noisy burp or punk squall, Blitz is the quintessential mature step forward for the band. Still, one can't help but think that old-school fans might hear the album and miss the days when the YYYs were a chaotic mess of heaving make-out electro — as heard on the Tommie Sunshine mix of "Y Control" or the synth-garage bender "Rich."
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