"Dense" and "lush" have long been necessary adjectives for anyone attempting to describe Yeasayer's sound. The band's approach entails folding many disparate elements together, twisting and pulling them until they decide to play nice. Although its first two albums, 2007's All Hour Cymbals and 2010's Odd Blood, don't sound terribly similar, they at least have this wide-reaching approach in common. In that sense, the band's latest album, Fragrant World, marks a departure: Density is no longer the name of the game. With its (relatively) spare arrangements, Fragrant World is less about stacking lots of pretty sounds on top of one another, and more about tightening the focus on the individual elements of each song.
The band relies more heavily on electronic sounds throughout Fragrant World. Drum machines and synthesizers have always been part of Yeasayer's arsenal, often as a simple rhythmic backbone or for melodic flourishes, but this time they have a clearer influence on the song structures. Rumbling bass lines and slinky, slippery beats often take a leading role, particularly in "Longevity" and "Henrietta."
In this session of World Cafe, Yeasayer performs songs from Fragrant World and discusses the record with host David Dye.