As explosive as they seem on the surface, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are also an ambitious, thoughtful band and keep pushing the boundaries of their music. They moved from the rawness of their early EPs to the polished art-punk of their first full-length in just over two years, and this drive to keep topping themselves led to breakthroughs like Fever to Tell's gorgeous ballad, and hit single, "Maps." After taking three years to follow up Fever to Tell, and scrapping many of the songs that they wrote while on tour supporting that album, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs returned with Show Your Bones, the yin to their debut album's yang. While Fever to Tell and "Maps" dealt with falling in love (and being more than a little freaked out about it), Show Your Bones is a breakup album. If the Yeah Yeah Yeahs had made this album earlier in their career, Karen O's cutting lyrics and Nick Zinner's choppy guitars would've sliced the poor ex to pieces; after all, on "Bang," from their self-titled debut EP, they (hilariously) wrote off a lame one-night stand with "as a f*ck, son, you sucked." Show Your Bones, however, tries to go much deeper than that. The album's rockers are surprisingly restrained: the cryptic lead single "Gold Lion" (sounding like a mash-up of Love and Rockets' "No New Tale to Tell" and Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Peek a Boo"), which eventually worms its way into listeners' heads, is surprisingly subdued compared to previous singles. Aptly enough for the kind of album it is, Show Your Bones' softer songs are some of its strongest: "Dudley" sounds a bit like Sonic Youth covering the nursery rhyme "Hush, Little Baby," while "Cheated Hearts" is a big, rousing ballad in the vein of "Maps." And, as on Fever to Tell, the band loosens up as Show Your Bones unfolds. "Mysteries" is a jealous cowpunk number that sounds tossed off, but has more bite and fun in it than the rest of the album. On "Turn Into," they take this twangy sound and turn it sweet, resulting in one of their best songs yet. However, too often heartache overtakes the band's sass and attitude on Show Your Bones. Actually, sass and attitude sound like the perfect antidote to heartache -- and, quite possibly, what ails the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares