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Music Review

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell

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Polydor/Universal 39 minutes - 2003

There's an invasion in progress. The elite units have already stormed the charts in the shape of The Strokes, The Hives and The White Stripes. Now the cannon fodder are struggling along in their wake in the form of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

It's a scene that has always been in thrall to influences from the past, standing on the shoulders of giants if you want to be nice about it, but the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (stupid, stupid name) take this unoriginality to new lows. Not only are they ripping off classic 60s and 70s rock, they're also ripping off their musical peers.

They peddle bluesy retro rock songs that are generally extremely short, and they've got no bass player. If they had appeared around the same time as The White Stripes you might be forgiven for thinking that the similarities are coincidental. But given that The Stripes have just released their fourth album and that 'Fever To Tell' is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs debut, it's all a little too close for comfort.

I struggled to find a shard of quality that might redeem this dreadful record, but The White Stripes' charisma, The Strokes' pop sensibility or The Hives' punkish impertinence are utterly absent from 'Fever To Tell'. Instead we get a lumpen musical mess with vocalist Karen O liberally swiping from fellow New Yorkers' Debbie Harry and Patti Smith without a trace of their character or quality.

From the inane grind of 'Cold Light' to the predictable and ploddy 'Y Control', 'Fever To Tell' is desperately dull and unambitious. With this kind of rubbish sailing high on the back of music press hype, it looks as if the retro rock movement might be running out of steam. If some tries to sell you 'Fever To Tell', the best response would be the chorus of track 8. It's called 'No, No, No'.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Rich - Date with a Night - Men - Tick - Black Tongue - Pin - Cold Light - No No No - Maps - Y Control - Modern Romance

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