tue 19/11/2019

CD: Tune-Yards - I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tune-Yards - I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

CD: Tune-Yards - I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

On which Merrill Garbus goes from deep-sea diving to treading water

Merrill says look at your hands

Growing up with the music of David Bowie is probably not the best grounding for being a music critic because it raises expectations unreasonably high for every other adventurous musician one happens upon. When I first heard the intense, bordering-on-hysterical music of Merrill Garbus (the main creative force behind Tune-Yards) eight or so years ago, I actually had to get up from my desk and pace the room. I was so excited to hear something that both acknowledged pop and rock templates and crushed them underfoot. But with love comes responsibility. But unfortunately Garbus seems to have stopped forcing open new sonic doors and throwing new sonic furniture around the place.

But much as Nikki Nack (2014) was enjoyable, it felt as if certain mannerisms, tricks, traits had become set aspects of her musical vocabulary. Those reservations have turned to full-on disappointment with I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life. It’s not that it’s a bad album, it’s just that it’s another Tune-Yards as we’ve come to know Tune-Yards albums. Everything Tune-Yardsy is present and correct: lyrics that seem both revealingly personal and surreally disconnected,  melodies that embrace Broadway, soul, hip-hop and nursery rhyme chants, arrangements that foreground a sturdy armature of bass and drums overlaid with swathes of vocals. And it’s all beautifully produced and lovingly crafted with the help of mixer Mikalin Bluespruce (who has worked with Skepta and Kendrick Lamar) and yet it feels curiously clinical.

Perhaps such a scenario was unavoidable, and Bowie’s dozen genre hops and reinventions during the 1970s were the anomaly. But that doesn’t stop one holding out hope that artists as intriguing as Garbus will pull themselves up by the bootstraps and find the courage to come at their material from a different angle, be a different version of themselves, or simply go and record an album with a 40-piece orchestra or a Balkan brass band.

Unfortunately Garbus has stopped forcing open new sonic doors and throwing new sonic furniture around the place


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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