It’s refreshing to hear such a hard-working, complex, and skilled record, regardless of genre.Nikki Nack is the third album by Tune-Yards, also known as Merrill Garbus. Garbus made a big splash with her previous effort, Whokill, and here it is incredibly obvious she has really cut her teeth to better what was already a great album. The first big change is that Garbus has left behind the DIY feel of Whokill in exchange for the super smooth pop dream production featured here. The music is deceptively minimalist, even more so than Garbus’s previous efforts. All the individual instruments, the drums, bass, and various synths sound so busy with their Afro-beat or R&B influenced parts, however the songs are just complex layering of only a handful of these instruments at a time. It’s a true testament to both Garbus’s skills as an arranger, and the album’s ultra-professional production. The lyrics are all incredibly aware too, ranging from self-related issues like on “Hey Life” and “Find a New Way” to the more worldly “Water Fountain” and “Wait for a Minute”. I have a hard time picking out which tracks I like most, since there’s no real clear standouts, every track is great. It’s refreshing to hear such a hard-working, complex, and skilled record, regardless of genre.. It’s not exactly my cup of tea when it comes to music, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely impressed by what I heard here.
Recommended If You Like: St. Vincent, afro-beat or R&B influenced art pop
Reviewed by Doug Bybee on 6-18-14