It's experimental art-pop on steroids! tUnE-yArDs
, the musical collective pioneered by Merrill Garbus has become one of the most interesting groups behind experimental pop with afro-beat influences. Her newest album Nikki Nack
presents pop through the lens of a richly textured and highly stylized lens. Much of this album embodies a postmodern sense of stylistic ideals. This can most clearly be heard in the way that Garbus plays with the classic hierarchical structure of a song. In tracks like "Rocking Chair" and "Manchild" the seems to be an interesting relationship between the vocal and instrumental elements of the song. It's as if Garbus has constructed a compelling musical climate in which a synth can hold the same musical weight as a seemingly random lyric like "rocking chair".
One of the main strengths of Nikki Nack
album, is the social politics at play in many of its songs. "Manchild" seems to explore themes of physical abuse while the track "Real Thing" toys with the inherent racism in America. However, at several points within the album, the chaotic nature of Garbus' sound profile became rather hard to digest.
tUnE-yArDs is not unlike Animal Collective in the way that she's built into her song structures elements that teach you how to listen to that particular song. This allows for a unique and diverse listening experience that often conjures rich visual imagery. Strange, quirky, and fascinating Nikki Nack
is like listening to an eclectic and musical stream of conscience. Although it might not be everyone's cup of tea, much like Garbus' 2011 sophomore LP w h o k i l l
, Nikki Nack
is yet an important step towards the further evolution of experimental pop music.
is out now on 4AD. Get your HERE