I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life


Four years on from Nikki Nack, her acclaimed third album, American multi-instrumentalist Merrill Garbus returns with another blend of clattering rhythms, vocal loops, African-inspired instrumentation and artful lyrics which, in her own words, ruminate on “race, politics, inter-sectional feminism and environmental prophesies”. If St Vincent has a backpacking, commune-dwelling, Fela Kuti-loving older sister, then Garbus is it. As before, musical partner Nate Brenner is on board, though for the first time he also produces.

Opener Heart Attack lopes along on a propulsive disco bassline topped with burbling, electro-pop flourishes and is about as close to an all-out club track as Garbus is likely to get. In contrast, her vocals on ABC 123 sound like they were recorded into a smartphone on a commuter train, while both bass and percussion have the same lo-fi feel. It's all very Tune-Yards. Garbus is at her best, though, when she takes a middle route: on Hammer, for instance, which showcases her impressive vocal range and her skills as a verbal gymnast, and the mid-tempo Coast To Coast, which brings a little bit of gospel sway to a story of imminent environmental collapse. All in all, another fine release from one of America's most articulate and inventive musicians.