tUnE-yArDs – BiRd-BrAiNs

January 01, 1970





On more than one occasion, tUnE-yArDs’ blend of
ukulele-driven psychedelic lunacy and boundary-smashing, world-music flourishes
suggest a freakier Devendra Banhart. According to popular legend, no-fi rookie
Merrill Garbus home-recorded this entire album on a hand-held tape recorder and
mashed the sounds together, including bits of conversation with a small child,
on her laptop using shareware. And there’s nothing in the audio department to
suggest she made that up to sound more DIY than you. It feels like fragments
stitched together with a keen ear for jarring transitions.


At times, this album may be too iconoclastic for its own
good – when her off-key warbling undermines the haunting, late-night ambience
of “Lions,” for example, or “Hatari,” where a patchwork quilt of tuneless
yodels cries out for the nuance and restraint of early Yoko Ono.  But the end result is often gorgeous in its
own peculiar way — the eerie childlike melody and simple acoustic arpeggios of
lead-off track “For You,” for instance. And the mesmerizing “Sunlight” sounds
like ?uestlove pounding out his own “Tomorrow Never Knows” as Garbus turns in
what is easily her most alluring vocal here while vowing “I could be the
sunlight in your eyes, couldn’t I?”


Standout Tracks: “For You,” “Sunlight” A. WATT.




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