Y-Not Radio: tUnE-yArDs “Nikki Nack” Album Review

I drafted an album review for Y-Not Radio covering tUnE-yArDs‘ latest release, Nikki Nack, that was out on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. The artistry and vision in the record is really appealing and quite creative. I definitely recommend taking a listen to the record and the previous albums, Bird-Brains and w h o k i l l.  Read the review below:

tUnE-yArDs Nikki Nack (4AD)

We were introduced to the unique indie pop act tUnE-yArDs in 2009 with the debut album titled Bird-Brains. Two years later, Merrill Garbus (the brains behind tUnE-yArDs ) put forth her sophomore effort, 2011’s w h o k i l l. Thanks to the single “Bizness,” tUnE-yArDs hit it big and quickly became a well-known name in the indie pop scene. Garbus decorates her songs with colorful instruments and deep, meaningful lyrics touching on some of the most important issues in America today. She was bored with her work and wanted to try something new, and that is where the latest record, Nikki Nack, comes into play.

On Nikki Nack, the sound can still be considered familiar to loyal fans of the w h o k i l l record, but Garbus has also incorporated different elements into this release with more defined bass lines and drums. The first single, “Water Fountain”, incorporates rhythmic drums similar to M.I.A. and features a reggae style beat, while Garbus talks of the problems of America and the crumbling of its cities. The second track, “Time of Dark”, opens with a strong and heavy bass intro to get your heart pumping and remains a bass heavy song throughout. You can get a taste of Garbus’ musical influences, especially on the track “Real Thing”, which begins with a Justin Timberlake-like beat and R&B undertones.

tUnE-yArDs is one of those acts you first listen to and aren’t sure if it’s for you, but once you’ve spun the record a few times, you tend to understand their musical vision and influences. It’s definitely not for everyone, but then these days there is a significant amount of similarly sounding music on the radio. It is important for a band or solo artist to help differentiate themselves from the rest of the musicians in the industry and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs does just that. She impresses with Nikki Nack and the new vision she illustrates on this record.

tUnE-yArDs will be performing at Union Transfer on June 15 with Sylvan Esso.


~ Lauren Rosier


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