Brooklyn’s Yeasayer have indeed covered more musical ground than ten bands twice their size since they busted out with the double A-side of “Sunrise” and “2080”, but it’s not just because they can. It’s more like they have no choice. From 2007’s All Hour Cymbals to 2016’s Amen & Goodbye, each album has been a meticulously planned and beautifully executed escape from their comfort zone. For more than a decade, they’ve expertly plucked themes, structures, and sonics from their galaxy of influences. They’ve cranked out pop soundscapes made of rhythmic Worldbeat, dancey thump, wall-of-sound psych rock, prog, even Middle Eastern and Celtic music. With “Ecstatic Baby,” core founding members Chris Keating, Anand Wilder, and Ira Wolf Tuton have once again created something sure to see them back on the stages of Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, Coachella, Reading, and Leeds.
“Ecstatic Baby” sounds exactly how you think a song called “Ecstatic Baby” is going to sound – it’s a straight-up celebration, a spiritual freak-out in the name of Love. It’s a three-minute, pure rush of deep grooves and melodic synth swells; its loopy, disco Bollywood feel is layered with Yeasayer’s famously rock-solid harmonizing. The first single off of Erotic Reruns, their fifth full-length, is a wild respect-is-due nod to NYC rhythmic No-Wavers and dance-punks like Liquid Liquid and ESG. That slide-whistle hook and bunny-hop bass make the angelic, perfect vocals even more starry-eyed and romantic as hell.
Directed and produced by NYC’s PandaPanther, the video for “Ecstatic Baby” is all upheaval and adventure, you know, kind of like Love itself. Unlike Love itself, there are giant spiders, forbidding alien landscapes (think Beetlejuice), unstable energy fields, and a huge caterpillar who’s totally cool with giving the guys a ride. The year-old creative shop uses pointedly ramshackle, throwback CGI full of fever dream grotesqueries to cut-and-paste the video’s world and narrative. From scene to scene, the visuals and action veer between dark and light – is it a long-shot rescue mission, or perhaps a religious ritual gone off the rails? Either way, it’s an immersive, unpredictable, strangely beautiful journey with a killer soundtrack. Come to think of it, that’s what being a Yeasayer fan has been like all these years.