Media hype is a persuasive weapon, and New York rock sensation the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a case in point. The storm of street buzz and media hype surrounding the Yeahs has been so strong that this punk trio was hotter than a July afternoon in Bakersfield before their debut full-length LP even dropped.

After triggering a major label bidding war and earning the Sonic Youth stamp of approval (a blessing that goes a long way in the world of rock hipdom), the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have finally released Fever to Tell. The album is not quite the masterstroke of raw rock genius that was so hotly anticipated – Fever to Tell simply sounds like the result of three art-damaged New York brats making a punk rock party record.

While the heaps of hype may be excessive, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs do flaunt some saucy rock ‘n’ roll treats on Fever to Tell. Singer Karen O (already a legend for her oversexed stage antics) propels the band with an overly expressive voice, and her tongue-in-cheek lyrics perfectly complement guitarist Nick Zinner’s crunchy rock riffage. “Well I may be just a fool / But I know you’re just as cool / And cool kids, they belong together,” O croons on the album’s hidden closing track.

Despite O being a Joan Jett lookalike with bowl cut, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ greatest success is that, while other dance punk bands rely heavily on being retro, the Yeahs’ sound is completely contemporary. Songs like “Date With the Night” are feisty enough to hold their own with any dance songs of today. Despite the overblown buzz surrounding the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell is an impressive debut – almost as impressive as the fantastic job their publicist is doing with the hype machine.

[Alex Scordelis swears he saw Connie Chung shopping at Albertsons last night.]