New Tune-Yards album channels chaos

Natan Shayevich, Opinions Editor

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Take the energy of a four-year-old having a temper tantrum and combine it with powerful, poignant, political prose. Then back it up with intoxicating drumbeats, a grooving bassline and add a synthesizer. This is how I would describe experimental pop artist Tune-Yards.

Lead singer Merrill Garbus and bassist Nate Brenner have consolidated the best aspects of R&B, folk, soul and pop into a sound characterized by intentionally low recording quality, Garbus harmonizing with herself and a hearty dose of cathartic chaos.

When I saw the release of Tune-Yards’ fourth album, “I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life,” I was ready for more chaos. I hit the play button on the lead single and began listening to “Look at Your Hands.”

Gone is the low-quality recording reverb and buzz, the chaos. The chorus isn’t remotely catchy, the hallmark of a bad pop song. “Look At Your Hands” does nothing to build tension and even the keyboard solo sounds deflated.

However, the rest of the album blew me away. Although most tracks stray from what I think of as “Tune-Yards,” the group steps into the new sound with grace. Garbus feels more sure of herself on this record than she ever has before. The piece that most exemplifies this sureness is “Heart Attack.”

“Heart Attack” starts with an incredibly catchy piano harmony and gets more and more dramatic until Garbus, accompanied by a string orchestra, brings the track to its climax. Although the chaos is still mostly missing from the instrumentation and production of the track, the focus of this cleanness adds a new level of grooviness to Tune-Yards’ sound. Garbus’ voice has been safely returned and alternates between growling, shouting and harmonizing. It is quirky, mesmerizing and spectacular.

Despite initial mistrust, I love “I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life.” This album adds a new pop twist to Tune-Yards’ cocktail of influences and genres while maintaining a lot of what I fell in love with originally. If you like offkilter dance music with weird lyrics and plenty of synthesizer, you will like “I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life.”

Tune-Yards’ “I Can Feel You Creep Into my Private Life” was released on Jan. 19, 2018. It features 12 songs and is available on most streaming services. Photo by Natan Shayevich

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New Tune-Yards album channels chaos