Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

tUnE-yArDs, W h o k i l l

The one-woman project by Merrill Garbus mixes musical genres the way stylists mix clothes. Garbus blends R&B, folk, African beats and pop to create a bold, brightly patterned outfit that should clash but doesn't. A good example of this is "Gangsta," which uses police sirens, horns and erratic sounds to create a danceable, energizing song that is absolutely captivating. Garbus' weirdness is tempered on W h o k i l l by bassist Nate Brenner; he grounds listeners with fluid rhythms as her androgynous voice flies in all directions, bellowing one minute and cooing the next. W h o k i l l has an urgent, frenzied feeling to it, and most of the songs deal with various forms of turmoil and violence, leaving the listener as frazzled as Garbus sounds. This is an experimental album by a woman unafraid to try something new.