On Merrill Garbus’ breakout album as tUnE-yArDs, w h o k i l l, her schizophrenic and claustrophobic…
On Merrill Garbus’ breakout album as tUnE-yArDs, w h o k i l l, her schizophrenic and claustrophobic medley of clamouring percussion, ukulele, half-rapped vocals and funk bass lines proved to be 2011’s most joyous and downright left-field pop album.
Her thoroughly manic songs and the particular idiosyncratic nature of Garbus’ low androgynous vocals meant that despite her sound being deeply original, it was hard to wonder where she could go next.
Her answer is to do more of the same. And no one is complaining. Her first single off the upcoming album, Nikki Nack, is more of the clattering hip-hop vocals buffeted by electronic flushes and the best handclaps since Lil’ Mama’s ‘Lip Gloss’. What makes Garbus stand out is just how much of a performer she is – seen in the way she moves from sweet singing to brash raps (she also creates her crazy looped drum tracks live on stage). Her lyrics, as usual, are wicked and metaphorical, with standouts like, “Life without your water is a burning hell” and “A two-pound chicken dances better with friends!”. It is a little unclear what the metaphor of the ‘Water Fountain’ is but it is clear that we all dance better with tUnE-yArDs.