This week, new releases from Turin’s Yves Tumor and Hamilton’s Kimbra. Enjoy!
Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)
Yves Tumor is an American producer and vocalist, born as Sean Bowie in Miami and based in Turin, Italy. Tumor was raised in Nashville, and started making music to cope with “dull, conservative surroundings”; I imagine there weren’t many fellow Throbbing Gristle fans in Tennessee. Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) is Tumor’s fifth album.
The album title sounds like something you’d expect from Godspeed! You Black Emperor. But the music is the opposite of post-rock – it’s a collection of twelve punchy tracks. Befitting his birth name of Bowie, there’s more than a touch of glam on these tracks. Praise is produced by Noah Goldstein, and features more of a live band feel – a journey away from Tumor’s origins as a self-contained DIY artist.
While Tumor’s androgynous charisma is at the centre of Praise A Lord, there are also great musical moments. There’s a terrific guitar riff that slips in halfway through ‘Heaven Surrounds Us Like a Hood’. There’s also an agreeably huge riff fuelling the closing ‘Ebony Eye’, while the pulsing bass that fuels the opener ‘God is a Circle’ sounds great.
Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume is an unrelenting blast of adrenaline.
New Zealand’s Kimbra Johnson is best known for a moment from before her debut album was released – the duet ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ with Gotye. The single topped the US charts and also featured an iconic video with the pair in body paint. In her own right, Kimbra’s a creative spirit who’s enjoyed an interesting career while never quite finding her niche as a solo artist. 2014’s arty Golden Echo was almost impossibly over-stuffed with ideas, while 2018’s Primal Heart presented Kimbra as a classy adult pop singer.
On her fourth album, A Reckoning, Kimbra’s free from the constraints of a major label for the first time. Her main collaborator is Son Lux’s Ryan Lott, who helps to furnish her with a moodier and artier sound. Kimbra’s talked about enduring a tough time over the past few years – her best friend passed away suddenly, while she was in the US during the George Floyd protests.
It’s an unfocused album, which goes in three different directions. There are piano ballads, often excellent like the Radiohead-like opening track ‘Save Me’, and particularly a contemplation of motherhood on ‘Foolish Thinking’. There’s electronic material that’s more like Son Lux’s work – like ‘Replay’ and ‘The Way We Were’. And there are forays into hip hop on ‘GLT’ and ‘la type’ – Kimbra’s able to hold her own as a vocalist on the latter. ‘Gun’ originated from a writing camp – narrowly missing the cut for a Rihanna album, Kimbra reclaims it as an empowerment anthem.
A Reckoning is fascinating, but it doesn’t entirely play to Kimbra’s strengths, with not enough emphasis on her hook-writing or vocal prowess.