Sunday, 17 April 2011

tUnE-yArDs (album review)

For her second album, 'w h o k i l l', Merril Garbus has opted for a more refined approach to the recording process than the single handheld digital recorder used for 'BiRd-BrAiNs', with a band utilised during live recording studio sessions. However this doesn't mean her music has lost any of its avante-gard appeal; w h o k i l l is still brilliantly messy, mashing together a vast array of instruments and stylistic approaches, from the folksy ukelele intro of 'Powa' to the crunching beats of 'Gangsta' and the wailing, saxophone fuelled raucousness of 'Riotriot'. The songs frequently develop from more hushed melodies into genuinely mental, jarring noisiness, with her vocals fluttering over the base layer of wierdness, at times both flippant and authorative; there's a really endearing sense of adaptability and development to Garbus' musical approach.

The lead single 'Bizness' is an obvious highlight, sandwiched neatly into the middle of the running order; clicking percussion and fluttering melodies are led by defiant vocals, with the track gradually gathering instrumental layers and momentum. 'Doorstop' sees Garbus' sickly sweet vocals balanced against bombastic, punchy percussion and subtle bass; 'My Country' uses a similar formula but injects synth and saxophone. 'Es-so' has a suprising, oldschool hip hop feel to it's jazzy, off kilter rhythms and 'Killa' ends the album on a sassy, empowered note. The album succeeds because as well as generally being really diverse, each individual song develops so much in its own right; Merril Garbus constantly adapts, warps and transforms her sound and it's that which makes the record so compelling.

The Album's out April 18th on 4AD.

tUnE-yArDs - Es-so

tUnE-yArDs - Bizness

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