Mixing together loud hooks, loose emotions

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

“Show Your Bones”


* * * 1/2


Karen O doesn’t need your kicks. She’s in search of something more -- a wailing, shrieking, panting, purring romantic as likely to slow down for a bit of raw emotional truth as explode right off the stage. She is one reason the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are still the most exciting act to emerge from the New York City rock revival -- but not the only reason, as the Brooklyn trio wisely expands in “Bones” (due March 28) on the frantic sounds of its 2003 debut without shattering the mold.

This is a band with purpose beyond propping up a star singer. Drummer Brian Chase and guitarist Nick Zinner fire off beats and pop melodies with ragged precision on “Way Out,” finding power through restraint, but also ready with a frayed passage of musical attitude right out of New York’s No Wave circa 1979.

From the first words and rhythms of the opening track “Gold Lion,” it’s clear the Yeahs are operating with the confidence of a great band. They’re at their best on “Cheated Hearts,” which sets Karen O’s charismatic yearnings against the hardest riffs. This is minimalist rock with real feeling and a subversive, epic range. The sound is big, but it’s on a human scale and delivers enough noisy, perfect pop to satisfy your cheapest thrills.

-- Steve Appleford

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