Yeasayer’s new album, Erotic Reruns, is the textbook definition of “easy listening.” It’s smooth, light and mostly enjoyable. It never seems to get too high or too low, and it makes for a nice—if unspectacular—listening experience when played front to back. Clocking in at a lean 29 minutes, it flies by. Erotic Reruns is full of upbeat, cheery-sounding pop tunes that arrived just in time for the summer.
But for a band once known for unique and experimental sounds, it’s hard not to view this as a disappointment, especially given the decidedly psychedelic direction of their previous record, 2016’s Amen & Goodbye.
Songs like “People I Loved” and “Ecstatic Baby” typify the broader experience of Erotic Reruns. They’re fun, catchy and energetic. Fans of a more pop-oriented brand of indie, in particular, will enjoy the sugar-pop chorus and light funk elements of “Ecstatic Baby.”
But these two tracks, like many others on Erotic Reruns, fail to stand out. They trudge to the back of the line of a never-ending compendium of indie pop, failing to ever grab the listener’s attention and refuse to let go.
One of the underlying problems of this record that contribute to its often-homogenous feeling is its reliance on genre tropes. The album is filled with tight, reserved sounding verses headlined by palm-muted guitar riffs under syncopated barre chords, flowing into big pop choruses. Even the album’s best guitar riffs, like those found on “Blue Skies Dandelions” and “Ohm Death” feel like a page ripped straight from Alex Turner’s book. The latter is one of the record’s best instrumentally, though the vocals are a notch below the quality in other songs.
This Arctic Monkeys influence is very apparent throughout, particularly from the AM era. “I’ll Kiss You Tonight” is another track that captures the mischievous nature of that sound, but fails to build on it in any meaningful way.
The band’s shift towards pop is also reminiscent of The 1975, especially their newer work. “Fluttering In The Floodlights,” the album’s jangly, poppy finale filled with synthesizer, tight melodic guitar runs and falsetto vocals, is the most obvious example of this.
All that said, none of the songs mentioned above are bad, and are even a relatively enjoyable listen. But they fall flat in failing to make a deeper impact, ultimately making Erotic Reruns less of a triumphant return to form, and more of a good-enough, one-time listen.