Track Review: Yeasayer – “Henrietta”

[Secretly Canadian; 2012]

Yeasayer’s forthcoming third album is called Fragrant World, and our first whiff of it is “Henrietta,” a synthy rock number that has much going for it, like a killer bassline, catchy melody, and a lush, relaxed ending. It’s a shame, then, that these elements go to waste, because while the first verses are great and the ending is great, there’s no middle.

The song starts strong with two verses and a climb, but then it drops off. A beat passes. The listener anticipates the return of the music in full force as the climb leads into the chorus, but instead of a chorus, we get an outro. What happened, the listener wonders, did I miss something? No, listener. I’m sorry to say you did not. “Henrietta” builds and builds, but doesn’t build to anything. The outro suggests a denouement, but from what? The song has nothing to keep it anchored, so it simply drifts from one part to the next, as though the band got bored with performing the song halfway through and decided to play something else.

Part of me hopes that there’s some secret “full length” version of the track that’s 13 minutes long and sounds like a unified whole, but songs like that are so two months ago. Instead, we have a track that promises much more than it delivers.