Fever to Tell was the first studio album by American indie band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, released in 2003. It is one of those notorious records that marked the “rock revolution”, of the first decade of the 2000s, also known as the Garage Rock Revival. Other than the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, there were The White Stripes, The Hives, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Black Keys, and other similar outfits. All these bands share one thing: simplicity. We’re talking about 4-chord song structure, simple but heavy and crunchy riffs, a bluesish attitude towards the vocal work, and a lot of raw garage rock, punk energy, and anger.
An artsy sensibility
The New York trio presented all these traits, but merged them with an artsy sensibility, with their roots that seem to be deep in a certain post-punk aesthetic (Siouxsie and The Banshees), especially for the timbre and use of vocals of singer/frontwoman Karen O. Also, this record in particular at times sounds really like classic rock, coming straight from the Led Zeppelin good old days, but obviously updated to the digital music production era.
The first leg of the project puts the listener in a tornado of hooky riffs, groovy drums and noisy solos, with all this wall of sounds topped by the angular but still sensual vocals provided by Karen O.
An intimate face
Rich is the right starter track to present the album, with its robotic tone hypnotizing the listener and slowly building up the tension with a Pixies-like alt-rock chords progression, though it’s never fully released. The first big single comes up right next, Date With The Night, a well-executed dance-punk tune in which we can listen to Karen O actually deliver all her powerful vocal technique, agonizing (but still somehow sexy) yells, and an edgy guitar work over blasting drums pumped up in the mix.
Until track 8, No No No, a garage-reggae-dub attempt that’s not really held up together, the record maintains this punky over-the-top attitude, and it’s only with Maps that the project also shows its more intimate face.
Maps, an inspired Pavement– like power ballad, with its melancholic bassline prominent in the mix and the soft uncluttered vocal line seems a correct ethereal peak for this nocturnal garage-rock tour de force.
You can find Fever To Tell on Spotify.