tUnE-yArDs | w h o k i l l

4AD (2011)
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  May 25, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

ty main

The human voice is often seen as a lonely thing, calling out unaccompanied in a cold and hostile environment. It is this property that has seen generations of vocalists enshroud themselves in bands in order to mask their loneliness and be part of a group thing, looking out the window at the sulking singer-songwriter all alone on a stool caterwauling to no one. Merrill Garbus, d/b/a tUnE-yArDs, a recent enchanter at our Brighton Music Hall, clearly is having none of that. Armed with a few delay pedals, a smattering of percussive devices, and a fucking ukelele, she creates a vocal army of one. Her continued veering into Afrobeat appropriation occasionally whiffs of Bobby McFerrin–ism, but fear not: especially on this, her sophomore outing, the sophisticated boom-bap and wall of rhythmic power pays off more often than it panders, especially on scorchers like "Bizness" and "Gangsta." It takes a certain amount of courage to make music that so closely skirts the outer edges of sheer annoyance, and indeed for some this music's lilting sing-song mixed with Garbus's propensity to shift from a Ladysmith Black Mambazo soothe to a blues mama yowl will prompt an instinctive grab for the "stop" button. But give it a chance: w h o k i l l may be strange on first pass, but only by its uniqueness, a music whose microgenre would disappear in a whiff were Ms. Garbus to have never stumbled upon it within her.
Related: Steve Earle | I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, The Human League | Credo, The Naked and Famous | Passive Me, Aggressive You, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, 4AD, folk,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE STROKES | COMEDOWN MACHINE  |  March 18, 2013
    The Strokes burst out in a post-9/11 musical world with a sound that was compact and airtight, melodies coiled frictionlessly in beats and fuzzed vocals.
  •   KMFDM IS A DRUG AGAINST BORE  |  March 13, 2013
    "In hindsight, honestly, it's almost impossible how it all happened."
  •   PALLBEARER SURVIVE EXTINCTION  |  February 20, 2013
    We all know that there is nothing more metal than a war.
  •   WHAT'S F'N NEXT? CHVRCHES  |  February 01, 2013
    If you are in a band and you've heard of Chvrches, you probably hate them.
  •   GLISS | LANGSOM DANS  |  February 01, 2013
    If rock and roll is three chords and the truth, then the mutant genre offspring shoegaze can be summed up as one chord, three fuzzboxes, and a sullen, muttered bleat.

 See all articles by: DANIEL BROCKMAN