Tune-Yards

I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

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Jan 29, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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Listen to "Hammer" from this, the fourth Tune-Yards album, and you can picture Merrill Garbus at the song's creation. Over tapping percussion and handclaps, Garbus sings, "Fear won't get off my back." A joyous chorus of Garbus vocals joins in, turning the ominous lyric into an unlikely sing-along line. The friendly spirit of that infectious moment might prompt you to try this at home, even if that only translates to carefully clapping along with Garbus' remarkable vocals.

I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life is a natural addition to the Tune-Yards catalog, a group of albums with songs so singular that practically every track seems like an evolution in the Tune-Yards sound. "Heart Attack" is prime Tune-Yards: a rhythm-dominated tune with a high-energy vocal delivery by Garbus and an intriguing arrangement that adds layers to the catchy chorus. It's also one of the album's best examples of what a strong singer she can be: when her vocals soar and swoop and there seems to be no way to nail a proper landing, her control over that powerful voice can be as startling as its ascent.

"I am exceptional/I'm an exception/I'm the exception," sings Garbus on "Now As Then." Over little more than a minimal, irregular rhythm, the lyrics are splashes of intriguing contradictions and declarations soaked in a hazy, off-kilter melody. Garbus' musical foil in "Colonizer" sounds like a battery of excited electronic gadgets, all beeping and clattering as she sings and Tarzan-yells. 

After "Home" initially swings between thoughtful piano pop and sort of a Tune-Yards version of cheery Gregorian chant, the setting changes abruptly when Garbus states, "I came to get down but you're not telling my story, man," and a surging beat takes over before eventually colliding with the reemerging Gregorian Garbus. As with every song here, one can't help but wonder at the end, "What's she going to do next?" (www.tune-yards.com)

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