Nick Catucci spends some quality time with Karen O and her mens and them:
Chase describes it as a "new cool detachment." But let's just say it: Despite the detours into atmospheric balladry, this is a dance album. To some fans--the ones drawn to the band because, like the also bass-free White Stripes, their emergence promised a rock resurgence in deafening guitars--that might sound a little too cool. Their self-titled first EP, in 2001, and 2003's Fever to Tell trafficked in raw: Shouty, guitar-driven, and entirely one-of-a-kind, they were that rare band that maintained their indie patina even with a mainstream single (the transcendent "Maps"). When they dared to dabble with texture and instrumentation, to facilitate a bit of introspection on 2006's Show Your Bones, there was backlash. If Karen O came out of the gate a rock star, the thinking seemed to go, why should the band need to tweak their sound, for fame or any other reason?
O & Co. were therefore nervous about how the new album would go over. "We were concerned what their hard-core fans would say," says the band's lead producer, Nick Launay. "The new direction was a very, very brave decision--a strong and confident decision not to want to repeat themselves ... And Karen was definitely the main person who was adamant that we had to change direction."
It really is a dance album. $100 to the man or woman who hears "Dragon Queen" in the club and doesn't move. Alright, so I'm not exactly "in the club" anymore. Still up here, just off Lennox, that joint do make em yell go Karen and do the whop. We gotta work on the boy's rhythm. But we're getting there.
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