With a sleeve so shocking it looks like it could be a homage to Blink-182, Mosquito is clearly the work of a band who could never be accused of overt seriousness. But it also betrays a punkish ethic – and is as good a summation of the NYC trio as any of their songs.
Their fourth album, Mosquito never once pushes the envelope as much as it does on lead single Sacrilege; just when you think they’ve taken their climactic, juddering emotions as far as possible, they go and add a full gospel choir. Elsewhere, other sonic tools are employed, as Karen O breathes and screeches over minimal digital rhythms (Slave), a touch of cleverly deployed world music (Under The Earth) and disco (These Paths). The only wrong turn comes, surprisingly, from LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, who produces Buried Alive, with its guest slot from rapper Kool Keith’s long-retired Dr Octagon alias. Despite such potential, the result sounds like mid- 90s rock-rap.
There are typically YYY-sounding songs: Despair is the one people will call the “new Maps”, while the title track and Area 52 provide the short sharp shock in line with much of their earliest material. Ultimately, Mosquito sees the band reenergised, trying new things and, generally, succeeding.