Review: Yves Tumor is the rock star we need with Praise A Lord…
Yves Tumor released their new album, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds). Read our review. Continue reading…
A shriek rips through the air. The sound is deafening, sickening even, but shoots life through the opening seconds of Yves Tumor’s new album, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds), like the tortured cry of a final girl who’s seen too much. Soon, an unnerving panting attaches itself to a relentless groove, as if it’s a mutant ooze, as Tumor describes a relationship that’s consuming too much of them.
Listening to an Yves Tumor song is frequently dizzying. You’re plagued by discomfort or besotted with curiosity about what’s going to happen next — how will this track suddenly swerve left or bloom into a gorgeous chorus? With Praise A Lord, however, Tumor has created their most maximalist album yet. It’s a sheer pop thrill that continues to establish them as a new type of rock star, one who wields chaos and beauty in both hands.
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It makes sense, given that Tumor has transformed references into their own universe with every album. Here, shiny strains of shoegaze, alt-rock, and post-punk subdue the carnal cry that dominated their previous record. Yet, there’s still a gleaming psychedelic aura that permeates the release, imparting a sense of enchantment and elation. Tumor shakes its foundations significantly, too, refuting meandering guitars and stoned vocals in favor of other ways to disorient, whether it’s eerie choirs that follow swirls of dense noise (“Interlude”) or expressive, out-of-body lyrics that remain difficult to parse (“Wander ’round, I just feel like a ghost in a well,” they sing on “God Is a Circle”). It all makes Praise A Lord feel profoundly lysergic and extravagant. “Heaven Surrounds Us Like A Hood,” for one, offers a transformative narrative as Tumor recalls meeting a “boy with no head.” The anticipation continues to creep until a sample of the boy speaking hits: “I love the color blue because it’s in the sky/And that’s where God is.” The guitars detonate like an epiphany, backed by an angelic live choir that makes the track transcend. If it’s not clear yet, Tumor’s sense of possibility runs in all directions.
No doubt that intensity will translate into their new live show, debuting at Coachella this April. For the past couple of years, Tumor has invited crowds to consider what it was like to witness the Doors, Funkadelic, or Bowie at the crux of their powers by reviving the magnetism of a rock show. “In Spite of War” will kill live with its “Everyone told me you’re a creep” line. Longtime bandmate Chris Greatti is bound to purify audiences with more spectacular guitar theatrics. The sleaze and grandeur of West Hollywood rock ’n’ roll in the ’60s come alive again on their stage.
Still, there are traces of their avant-garde past. “Purified By the Fire,” in all of its enormous and sinister brilliance, feels like a sequel to Heaven To A Tortured Mind’s “Folie Imposée,” built to make you move as if you’re surrendering yourself in a nightclub plunged into the depths of hell. Toward the end of “Operator,” the song grows into thick noise. Despite its opening acoustic strums, “Meteora Blues” concludes with an ambient outro that bridges the next track. There may never be another “Limerence,” but there are vestiges of their former sound that have evolved and fit with their new vision.
As ever, Tumor’s shapeshifting world is heightened by collaboration. Elliott Kozel (who also makes glitchy shoegaze as Gloomer) and Psymun lend production and co-writing expertise on most of the record; Ecco2K’s vocals occupy their own corner on singles “God Is a Circle” and “Echolalia”; producer Noah Goldstein (Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Rosalía) employs a luscious pop sleek that adds vibrancy to the distortion; Kidä’s vocals break through the surface like a beam of light on “Lovely Sewer.”
Perhaps most spellbinding of all, though, are the moments of joy that punctuate the record. “Echolalia,” with its bouncy, jubilant groove, is an instant mood lifter, despite its tender lyrics about learning to reconsider what real love is through a gory music video. “Lovely Sewer” hits like a rush of serotonin after the anxiety attack of the opening track. “Ebony Eye” glows bright, bursting with rapture and grandiosity that concludes the album on the highest note possible. With Praise A Lord, there is more pleasure in pop than ever before. The power to make a sticky song that will be sung along to by thousands is just too irresistible to ignore. It’s intoxicating, empowering you to relinquish yourself to the music completely and, primarily, feel just as free as the boundary-defying extraterrestrial behind the microphone.