Pop Screen: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

“Gold Lion”

Dir. Patrick Daughters

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have finally reversed their habit of making rubbish videos for fantastic songs. The New York art-punk trio’s newest video to single, “Gold Lion,” is a scorcher, in the literal sense.

The band find themselves in a desert at night. And, as one is wont to do in a desert at night, they start a massive bonfire with their instruments while dust swirls around them in slow motion.

Black-clad drummer Brian Chase somehow lights the fire by pounding on his snare drum, and waif-thin Nick Zinner strums, in a change of pace for the YYYs, an acoustic guitar before smashing it and adding dozens of ill-fated instruments to the bonfire. This cuts back and forth with sexy singer Karen O, draped in a gold dress, fire in her eyes and dirt on her face, contorting, howling, and shaking while singing “We build a fire when the color’s getting brighter.” The setting, the visual effects, and the charisma of the players all make this a thoroughly compelling affair.

It’s a shame, then, that the song to which the video is set is a disappointment. If this first single is the best they can muster, the new album, “Show Your Bones,” due out this March, will sound more like a dull White Stripes imitation than the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ searing previous work.

Where on their debut album, their sound was packed full of edge, passion, and finger-in-the-socket guitar innovation, the new sound of the band, or at least what can be gleaned from their latest track, is comparatively conservative.

The guitars are still distorted and the drums still heavy-hitting, but it seems that they have turned the volume down from eleven to about seven and a half. Let’s hope that this song is just an aberration, and that the rest of the album sounds as good as this video looks.

- Adam J. Scheuer