I always assumed that when the Arcade Fire covered the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Maps, it would render the latter band redundant. Basing my opinion mostly on Bang being really annoying, I was, of course, wrong. Far from being the modey, style over substance type act I assumed they would be, Karen O poured some serious guts into the song and wrenched one of those amazingly emotive performances that you just don't hear that often. But, I assumed the Arcade Fire could do it better and that because the rest of the album was merely OK, they'd fade out once the bowl haircut went out of style.
But not so. Gold Lion is the new single, and Show Your Bones is out this week. And what do you know? It's a good album. The lead single is the opener and although receiving a mixed reaction, I think it's ace indeed. For a band I never expected to like, they've won me over quite a long way, so fair play to them. They've beefed up the drums a fair whack on this record, and Nick Zinner's on fine quirky-guitaring form. Karen O, as ever, is the public face, although she's toned down the rants and rage to focus on the guts and soul. Good choice.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps (John Peel session, 22/8/02)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps (single version)
Arcade Fire - Maps
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion
EDIT: thanks to Toby - video for Maps