Pre-release album leaks are a reality that every band has to deal with in one way or another. While some undertake wildly expensive measures to try and prevent it from happening, others embrace the inevitable by streaming their album for free, offering users a legal option for a first listen. Like many others, the psychedelic dance rockers of Yeasayer are now giving their fans an early taste of the band’s new album; however, they’re also making those fans work for it.
Anyone interested in hearing Yeasayer’s third full-length album, Fragrant World, has the power in their hands right now, nearly three weeks ahead of the Aug. 21 release date. All they have to do is go on an Internet scavenger hunt to find the songs.
A cryptic message on the band’s website announced the hunt on August 1, referring to their self-leak operation as PSCYVOTV, or Preemptive Self-Commissioned Yeasayer Vorstellung or Track Visualizer. That last part is a reference to the trippy visuals Japanese digital artist Yoshi Sodeoka created for the album to accompany each of the 11 songs, which fans can find via clues on the band’s Twitter stream.
The below tweet, for instance is a reference to a sketch by Tim & Eric, which holds a hidden clue to how users can find "Fingers Never Bleed."
The idea of baiting fans is par for the course, considering how Yeasayer approached their new album. “We didn’t really want to do as many obvious pop songs. We wanted to make this one a little more challenging to the listener, but ultimately a more enjoyable listening experience,” says frontman Chris Keating about Fragrant World. “It’s less direct, it’s more abstract dance music than the last album. The vocals are more treated and clouded, the rhythms are a little more intricate and exciting.”
That sense of playfulness and experimentation is certainly evident in the release strategy. The band had a similarly nontraditional way of introducing the first single from the new album back in May: they sent physical copies of the single, "Henrietta," out to all the fans on their mailing list before premiering the song online. It was a perfect example of the involved relationship the band has with its fanbase, even as that fanbase expands.
“We’re still a niche kind of band, even if I’m not sure what that niche is,” Keating says. “I think our true kind of core fans are happy for us to change directions and do whatever we want, since that’s what they’ve come to expect from us. With the last album, we were probably aiming for more of a wider audience, and going for something that was less atmospheric and esoteric, and more direct. With this one, I don’t think we really thought about that.”
If you want to hear the new album the way the band wants you to (via enigmatic song-pursuit), you’ll have to hurry. Although nearly all the tracks are up on various websites right now, at 8pm on Friday, PSCYVOTV will be finished and the songs will be removed. Perhaps by then, you’ll want to track down the band in person at one of their shows.
Watch a visual for the song Henrietta below.