This really is the key to understanding Yeasayer, the band so normal it’s circled right back around to weird. They write songs about personal relationships and keeping hope alive, even when it’s clear they could talk forever about the dark future of our planet. They have misinterpreted tattoos and prefer the Grand Central Oyster Bar or top of the Empire State Building to Williamsburg. Yeasayer’s New York is skyscrapers, roofs with scattered water towers, fading signs on crumbling brick—things that stood the test of time and withstood the city’s harshness. They don’t ever seem to quite fit in, but don’t care, because in the end—which will probably come in the form of a massive tidal wave over Manhattan—what does that matter?
In a scene straight out of one of his songs, Keating and I are walking in one of the most unbearable rainstorms of the winter. We’re talking casually, pretending that the sidewalk isn’t about to wash away, before eventually conceding and heading to a coffee shop near his house. A kid sits at a table next to us, blatantly listening to our conversation, curiosity probably piqued by the recorder sitting in the middle of the table. As we get up to leave, fumbling with soggy coats and damp coffee cups, the kid edges over, visibly nervous and gesticulating in tiny caffeinated jitters. He tells Keating he’s a huge fan of Yeasayer, and they exchange a couple minutes of small talk. It’s a nice rarity in a city where people often worry that being enthusiastic will make them uncool. Keating, obviously appreciative, thanks the kid, opens the door and steps back into the torrential downpour.