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whokill (4AD)

Whokill, the latest from Merrill Garbus, the New Hampshire-based multi-instrumentalist otherwise known as tUnE-yArDs, is probably as polarizing a release as anything in recent memory. Her music is not just an acquired taste---either you appreciate it or you don’t---it’s a collage of influences (world beat, jazz, electronica) colliding in a tangle of rhythms, blips, honks and hiccups. Garbus pushes melodies like a pop chanteuse who grew up listening to Björk and Afrika Bamabaataa at the same time. Lyrically and thematically, the album is just as bold with songs that deal with body image and power (both personal and socio-political). Garbus takes risks, making whokill a compellingly unique listen that truly defies categorization.

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Vol 25, No 21
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