The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a punk-rock dream come true, three New York kids who have become international word-of-mouth sensations thanks to their ass-flatteningly righteous live shows. Lead singer Karen O prowls the stage like the Joanest Jett in town, a fearsome demon girl-child screeching the blues with the feral yowl of a cat in a hot tin microwave. Drummer Brian Chase and junk-guitar whiz Nick Zimmer bash out savage scrap-metal garage punk. Karen O certainly has a way of making mincemeat out of the boys, too: "I'll rub that cheek right off your lips, baby/So take a swallow as I spit, baby." Scruffier than the Strokes, funnier than the White Stripes, making an unforgettable chorus out of the line "As a fuck, son, you suck," the Yeah Yeah Yeahs already have a lot of lore to live up to.
When the Yeah Yeah Yeahs finally get around to dropping their debut album, it should be a killer. In the meantime, we have this, the five-song debut EP that's been circulating since last fall, just getting its first wide release now on Touch and Go Records. Be forewarned, though: The EP barely hints at how great the band has become in the past year, especially since the sound quality is roughly at a firing-a-BB-gun-into-a-garbage-can level. But as long as you scale your expectations down to a reasonable level, you should get a jolt out of every song. The hysterical sex rants "Bang" and "Mystery Girl" set the pace, but the real prize is the finale, "Our Time," an anthem that could be about New York after the bomb or just two misfit kids finding each other in any suburban hellhole of a high school. "It's our time to be hated!" Karen O chants. "It's our time! Our time! To be hated!" It's a truly inspirational sound, as well as a headache-inducing racket — and that combination sums up the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perfectly.