In the early 2000s, Yeah Yeah Yeahs opened for the White Stripes and the Strokes, and critics hailed the three bands for leading a garage rock revival. The Stripes are no longer, and the Strokes' latest, Comedown Machine, left plenty to be desired, but Karen O, Brian Chase and Nick Zinner are still putting out music that manages to be consistent while challenging themselves.
The New York City trio describe Mosquito as a "Yeah Yeah Yeahs soul record," and their fourth album finds them experimenting with new sounds, most notably with a backing gospel choir on Sacrilege and clanging track noises that serve as percussion on the slow-burning Subway.
After the band's polished, dance-friendly 2009 effort, It's Blitz!, Zinner's hard-charging riffs on Area 52 are a welcome return to the urgent, sometimes messy art punk of their early days. The only weak spot here is Buried Alive, produced by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and featuring a clunky verse from Kool Keith rapping under his Dr. Octagon persona.
"They'll suck your blood," Karen O yelps on the title track, but with Mosquito, the band shows it has plenty of life left.
Top track: Sacrilege