Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tune-Yards Break the Mould with Second Release "Who Kill"

OK, I am late with this. Who Kills (4AD), Tune-Yard's strikingly different second album has been out since, what, March? I vow to catch up by the end of summer. And so...

Tune-Yard is the waking dream of Merrill Garbus, who sings beautifully and writes music that doesn't sit comfortably in either square or round holes, so chuck out the pegs. There is a West Indian influence, clearly, in the vocals and the structure of the music. Some sort of post-Reggae style world is evoked, but there is so much more. It has African influences, funky post-earlier rock and hip-hop, and an undefinable something.

The vocals kick dust into the wind. Merrill has a great big vocal instrument that she bends and twists to fit her songs. It is a voice that has all kinds of aspects--soft, snarly, shout, etc. The instrumental backdrops are never quite what you'd expect. Some guitar work that shows punk, highlife, skronk, the troubadors of the middle ages (well, maybe), beats that step into territory not charted. . . . There are sing-songie songs that suddenly riff your ears off, melodic contours that don't sound like any one thing, lyrics that depict neighborhoods one wishes one were out of, the new tough womenhood, oh I could go on.

Music like this is most welcome in our homogenized world. It's not homogenized. I am sick of homogenized. Listen to this one! Buy it! Tell your friends! Get the complete set (so far, two)!

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