When Luis posted "Zero," It seemed like I may have been one of the only people that didn't like it. "Zero," to me, came across a little flat and like it was trying too hard. From that moment, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like It's Blitz!. Then I heard the record... still don't particularly like "Zero," but as for the rest? Well, I love it. The album as a whole is stunning. The YYYs have used several broad brushes to paint one of this year's most cohesive, yet diverse works. I've listened to the whole thing about 22 times front to back, and through every listen I've found new things that have excited me. Some may pose It's Blitz! as a synthpop album, but it's not. While there are elements of that included, each song is unique. Some are slow, some are synth, some upbeat, some dance, some pop. The variations are sweet and the album comes across as fresh and clean. After such a long break for the YYYs, It's Blitz! crescendos to levels that many had looked forward to.
There's not a bad song on this record, so it's difficult to pick out any favorites. Still, there are some that certainly stand out. "Dull Life" is a fantastic "bar band" song that makes you wanna pound a table. I could easily see these guitar riffs and growling shout/vocals being spit out over cheap beer, raucous crowds, and crackling speakers. With solid builds that occur throughout the song and good finish, this song presents itself as anything but dull.
I hear "Heads Will Roll" as a dance cut that's just asking for a remix, and I can't wait to see what good djs are gonna do with it. I'd venture to guess that you clubbers out there are gonna be hearing mashups with "Heads Will Roll" elements sooner than later. I mean, any song that says "Off with your head, dance 'til you're dead" was made to get people up & moving.
One thing you have to give the YYY is that they don't fear dead space. Too many artists these days are afraid to give their song any real texture. It's almost like bands wanna hand their listeners catchy hooks and fancy choruses before anyone realizes how boring they actually are. Great bands like the YYY understand that often the power of a song comes in the subtle details, not the super charged chorus. "Skeletons" has a majestic Celtic feel that is best served slowly & deliberately. Brilliant execution on an overall brilliant song.
Likewise, "Runaway" showcases much of what makes this album strong. The YYYs seem to have paid particular attention to delivery and approach this time around, and each song glimmers with a promise of greatness. "Runaway" shows deft strategy and depth as piano plucking is layered with vocals, that are layered with strings, which are layered with drum licks. "Runaway" is yet another song on It's Blitz! that is filled with the kinds of musical moments that carry it into the realm of truly fantastic.
It's Blitz! is more listener friendly than previous albums, and it (in aggregate) ventures beyond the scope that YYY has worked with in the past. It will resonate with a pretty broad audience, although die hard fans may find disappointment with the overly polished sound (gone is the garagey feel of past YYY albums). Still, for my money, It's Blitz! is a record who's sheer consistency forces listeners to recognize its beauty. It's is an arching album that gives us both raw, pounding dance beats, and slow drawling songs. As a result, the album feels more far reaching and more encompassing than any other record I've heard this year. I don't expect it to take "best album" honors come December, but in a music world that is progressively turning to the single to churn out cash (thanks iTunes) you have to respect a band that can and will deliver an entire album of audio deliciousness.