Album Review

Nikki Nack

Nikki Nack

by tUnE-yArDs

7.5 / 10
20th May 2014

Reviewed by Paul Larsen

Haiti has become something of a mecca for indie musicians recently. 2012’s brilliant Reflektor album from Arcade Fire was slow cooked in the Caribbean country’s French, African and Taino influences and made all the more tasty for it. A success that tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus has no doubt hoped to emulate with her own visit for the creation of third studio record, Nikki Nack.

While the ever present afro beat and percussion heavy textures she’s known for haven’t diminished, they have been refined somewhat. This is in most part due to the full time addition of bassist Nate Brenner whose steady bass line brings a meaning to the chaos and provides, if not the brakes then a solid rail for the runaway train of Garbus’ genius. The magnificent ‘Time of Dark’ is a solid example of this new dynamic with the introduction of Brenner’s bass line providing a safety net for Garbus’ acrobatic vocals and percussion.

This element is just one of the aspects which will ensure Nikki Nack stands above its predecessor, Whokill. Songs like ‘Hey Life’ and the transfixing one-two combo of ‘Find a New Way’ and single ‘Water Fountain’ are joyous indicators that Garbus has found a sweet spot of influence and creation. Let down only by the occasional moment of madness including a ridiculous spoken word interlude contemplating ‘why do we dine on the tots?’ Nikki Nack is a relentlessly hectic and bombastically fun record.

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