Merril Garbus has built her short, indie-buzzworthy career from hyperactive, saccharine-infused pop…
Merril Garbus has built her short, indie-buzzworthy career from hyperactive, saccharine-infused pop explosions. However, that particular talent for frenetic production should not belie her actual talents as an earnest and moving songwriter.
“Wait For A Minute”, the second track off her new album Nikki Nack, displays the latter talent more explicitly as she opts for a minimal and skeletal composition. Because of this, Garbus’ normally untamed vocal theatrics are replaced with a restrained vocal take of which any 90’s R’n’B it-girl would be proud.
Garbus opts for depressing introspection and talks of her internal crises with lyrics like, “why do I spend so much of my day finding anyway to waste away”. She seemingly wrestles with the threat of mental collapse, singing “today I feel like I’m living on the ledge and at any moment I know I’m just gonna fall off the edge”. Garbus is clearly moving into far bleaker territory here than her previously dark-humoured lyrics would have suggested. She ends with the lyrics, “easier to just do it than just sit here and wait” as her voice reverberates around the hollow but eerily bright production.
It is unclear what is “easier to just do”, and one could assume the worst, but what is clear is that we shouldn’t fooled, because under all the colourful outfits, ukulele freak-outs and syncopated rhythms, Garbus is a dark and tortured artist. But her way of expressing doom and gloom is so refreshingly tuneful and playful, we are bound to be fooled once again.