Fragrant World - Yeasayer
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 44
  2. Negative: 0 out of 44
  1. Aug 17, 2012
    90
    Yeasayer capture this seemingly ineffable fear, dread, and paranoia with wide-eyed clarity throughout this astounding album.
  2. Aug 21, 2012
    88
    Fragrant World may initially come off as messy, even chaotic. But the trio of Anand Wilder, Chris Keating and Ira Wolf Tuten are on to something worth absorbing all the same.
  3. Aug 14, 2012
    88
    Yeasayer remain the new-millennium kings of studio manipulation, and it's downright jaw-dropping that they're able to experiment so wildly in the context of such catchiness. Fragrant World feels like a victory lap.
  4. The quintet has a real pulse on how to be memorable, melodic and magnificent without sacrificing their defined visions.
  5. Almost every track offers up at least a snatch of melody you're always glad to hear again.
  6. 83
    The result is something both tighter and somehow weirder, tethering college-dance-party grooves to the band's far-out secret-society visions.
  7. Oct 5, 2012
    80
    It's not a bad album, it's actually pretty good. Just not their best.
  8. Aug 23, 2012
    80
    When you give it [a] chance, this album blooms into something different, deeper and more resonant that, along with its musicality, should be appreciated for its originality and growth.
  9. Aug 21, 2012
    80
    Fragrant World is by far the band's most immersive and consistent record, a buzzingly exotic mass of nervy future soul and paranoid disco that grows in stature with each listen.
  10. Aug 20, 2012
    80
    When it works, it's a glorious thing. [Sep 2012, p.108]
  11. Aug 17, 2012
    80
    It's the freakier corners here that shine bright like neon.
  12. Aug 17, 2012
    80
    Between sombre tones and esctasy highs, and with tracks like 'Folk Hero Shtick' and 'Reagan's Skeleton', this will leave you with a grin on your face and a confidence music will keep going.
  13. Aug 15, 2012
    80
    [Fragrant World] is a further evolution of the band's interests in Eighties electro and contemporary R&B.
  14. 80
    It's a relief to hear even weirder experiments emerge on Fragrant World--especially the second half. [Sep 2012, p.94]
  15. Aug 21, 2012
    78
    Overall, Fragrant World is a sexy, infectious compilation of conventional musical tropes, filtered through Yeasayer's dark kaleidoscope.
  16. The thematic and musical revamping is impressive, even for a band that seems to enjoy turning itself inside out on a regular basis, but it isn't quite matched by the execution.
  17. Aug 29, 2012
    70
    For those willing to rise to the challenge, Fragrant World has a wealth of obscured moments of bizarre genius.
  18. Aug 27, 2012
    70
    On a first listen, the music sounds aloof and arty - and it is, full of conceptual wiles. But the next time around, pop hooks sink in; more often than not, "Fragrant World" is a snappy synth-pop album.
  19. Fragrant Word has killer synthpop tunes buried within it, but too often you wonder how much better a record this would have been if they quit dicking around and just gave you the song.
  20. Aug 21, 2012
    70
    At times, you're sure they've nicked a melody from some neon-dream MTV hit you can't quite place. Then you realize they're reinventing that dream right now.
  21. Aug 16, 2012
    70
    There's a duality to Fragrant World that, sized up alongside its two predecessors, reveals an inherent character trait and a more troublesome trend. Bad songs turn into good songs, and good songs turn into better ones. [No.90 p.51]
  22. Aug 14, 2012
    70
    Fragrant World challenges from the first to the 15th listen, yet lacks the hooks that made Odd Blood such an impossible album to ignore. But, at the same time, Yeasayer are a talented bunch who make forward-thinking, 21st century pop music designed to make you think while you dance.
  23. Aug 9, 2012
    70
    It's no stinker, more a transition, a typical third LP that just doesn't catch light enough.
  24. Aug 21, 2012
    67
    The aloof, introspective outlook isn't enough to fill the void left behind, nor is it enough to save Fragrant World from sounding somewhat generic.
  25. Aug 20, 2012
    64
    This is not your usual carbon-copy victory-lap album--it's an ambitious boundary pusher.
  26. Aug 22, 2012
    60
    Fragrant World is an uglier, darker affair [than Odd Blood], full of tangled synth lines and hyper-compressed rhythm tracks. It's sometimes brilliant, too, with at least two hooky standouts ("Henrietta", "Reagan's Skeleton") – but it's also the first Yeasayer album that threatens to collapse under its own teeming weight.
  27. Aug 21, 2012
    60
    Fragrant World is by no means a bad album - it may start slowly, and end rather mutedly, but there's a fairly satisfying core to it - it's only really a disappointment as Yeasayer themselves have already raised the bar incredibly high.
  28. 60
    Instead of an album hurtling 100mph in one of those directions, Fragrant World feels like the work of a band with stabilisers on.
  29. Aug 21, 2012
    60
    Yeasayer's only triumph here is perfecting a niche they've already seemed to master.
  30. Aug 20, 2012
    60
    Yeasayer soar with sublime choruses that are everything that pop has been trying to realize: high-art dionysian bliss contained in three- to four-minute bursts.
  31. Aug 20, 2012
    60
    They're at their best when they do a little less, as on the surprisingly melancholy and lovely Henrietta.
  32. 60
    A frustrating experience overall.
  33. 60
    The grooves and the sonic wizardry work, but Fragrant World doesn't have half of the intensity, innovation, or memorable hooks of the group's two prior LPs.
  34. Aug 16, 2012
    60
    The first half of Fragrant World plods around self-indulgently, and No Bones veers all over the place... But the halfway point marks a clear shift in quality, as if they finally rediscovered their pop sensibility.
  35. Aug 16, 2012
    60
    The fractured sounds give us little to hold on to; the songwriting's hidden behind so much distraction.
  36. Aug 14, 2012
    60
    Appreciating this album does admittedly require time and effort, which occasionally isn't repaid... But once you've settled into it, Yeasayer's Fragrant World is a wonderful place to explore.
  37. Aug 13, 2012
    60
    Just as Yeasayer appears to have planted its two feet firmly on the dance floor, it seems to have lost much of its capacity for eccentric pop magic.
  38. Aug 9, 2012
    60
    It's sex music for oddballs. [Sep 2012, p.89]
  39. Aug 16, 2012
    54
    Fragrant World is curiously thin.
  40. Aug 29, 2012
    50
    This is their pointed after-hours comedown LP, it's not enough of a disclaimer to save what amounts to an occasionally flourishing, but largely frustrating and tedious record.
  41. Aug 28, 2012
    50
    Coupled with a diminished knack for melody and slower (r'n'b-aping) tempos, conveying a vaguely subdued mood, the difficult Fragrant World just isn't what most people would consider fun.
  42. Aug 20, 2012
    50
    The band's tendency to overreach may be muted on Fragrant World, but Yeasayer is still as earnestly silly as ever.
  43. Aug 21, 2012
    40
    Its sound is bright, slick, and micromanaged.
  44. Aug 9, 2012
    40
    Despite the contemporary sheen too much here is reminiscent of a certain kind of overwrought mid-80s synthpop. [Sep 2012, p.87]
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Aug 21, 2012
    9
    Loving this album! It's an excellent closer to this summer. The "hooks" in this album are not as accessible as their previous endeavors. Nonetheless, this album has a few solid layers to it. The first 5 tracks twist and turn from mid-tempo, synth-filled ease, to fun electro-pop beats in Devil & the Deed. This album isn't getting as much love from the critics, but I feel that it deserves much more. I'd honestly give it a solid 8, but the critic hate is making me bump it up a notch. Full Review »
  2. Sep 7, 2012
    9
    This is such a fun album. Spotify tells me I've played it all the way through seventeen times, and that's really saying something. Each song brings something special to the album, but I'm a huge fan of Reagan's Skeleton, Glass of the Microscope, and No Bones. Every song is great, even the singles that have been released. If you've ever liked Yeasayer, you'll like this too. Full Review »
  3. Aug 23, 2012
    8
    Solid album. Yeasayer made a pretty concise batch of songs compared to Odd Blood and All Hour Cymbals which were sort of all over the place. The most notable difference between this album and the previous two is the massive amount of bass, everything sounds so thick. The band's sense of adventure and discontent is still in tact and that's where they lose a lot of listener interest. Sometimes they try too hard to make certain sounds and rhythms work, but it mostly pays off on Fragrant World. I think this is a step in the right direction for the band. They shamelessly latched onto this futuristic dance funk sound and are determined to make it work, no matter how divisive the results. Full Review »