Perpetual messers-with word cases tUnE yArDs keep their incessant meddling up with this, their second studio album. The powerhouse driving the tUnE yArDs project, Merrill Garbus, has succeeded in giving us an innovative, playful, and staggeringly adept follow-up to the brilliant BiRd BrAiNs.
Tin can rhythms, sweet ‘n’ sour, endlessly surprising lyrics and rambunctious delivery make w h o k i l l just as exciting as its predecessor, but experience has weathered and refined Garbus’s style, bringing her even closer to shiny perfection.
This record is unquestionably earthly, and yet it inhabits entirely unfamiliar terrain – the birds don’t sound quite the same, drums have special powers, and female lungs are just about the most powerful things in existence.
Opener ‘My Country’ is a fantastical journey through the gamut of American life that offers a microcosm for the diverse soundscapes that tUnE yArDs explore throughout w h o k i l l. Splicing lines from the American national anthem with snapshots of mundane everyday boredom, lies and trumpets, it’s an absolutely killer kick-off.
6 Music favourite ‘Gangsta’, pulls the bass-heavy cork on the listener, as Garbus’s voice loops across itself to imitate a siren, segueing into her endlessly bewildering explorations in sound and rhythm. Lyrically sparse, it grabs teenage angst by the nuts and holds it under scrutiny for four boisterous, magnificent minutes.
‘Riotriot’ is hazier in tone: musings through windows grow into a sneaky, uncomfortable melody which threatens something significantly more sinister than you might expect following the exuberant ‘Gangsta’, and these contrasts serve only to unsettle the listener who will be, without question, held gloriously captive by the racket for the duration of this virtuoso release.
FFS bloody loves the video for Bizness. You probably will too:
W H O K I L L is out now.