Though we may roll our eyes at the need for musicians to create a ‘persona’, let’s face it, it’s damn entertaining when they do – especially when they get it as right as Merrill Garbus does in tUnE-yArDs.
Her third album, Nikki Nack is a theatrical 13-track album chock-full of expression and experimentalism. ‘Water Fountain’ deceives us with its uppity guitar strums, rhythmic clapping and percussion while we bop along to some seriously deep lyrics. Unbeknownst, we clap along to “Nothing feels like dying like the drying of my skin and lawn. Why do we just sit here while they watch us wither ’til we’re gone?” While we should feel a little betrayed, you can’t help but love this catchy number and the way it sticks in your head for days. ‘Wait for a Minute’ will have you humming along and feeling just as guilty as you did with ‘Water Fountain’.
If there’s anything that we’ve learnt from past tUnE-yArDs albums is that each song is as varied as the last. At times things slow down, ‘Time of Dark’ and ‘Look Around’ are fine examples, but then an experimental track like ‘Hey Life’ is thrown into the mix.
While this album mightn’t be for everyone, there’s something so hilarious and engaging about Nikki Nack. The lyrics play out much like a story, and Garbus’ storytelling comes to the forefront in the track ‘Interlude’. Though it’s a quirky addition, it wouldn’t be the greatest thing to listen to before a night out, or jog along the beach.
This album is worth picking up for those wanting something a bit different or who find themselves a bit of a genre jumper.
Out now via 4AD
Written by Amanda Sherring