Merrill Garbus returns with the third full length for her tUnE-yArDs persona. She wowed critics and won audiences over with her first two albums and seems set to do so with her latest, Nikki Nack. Where the two previous albums were filled with the loop pedal and the saxophone, this album is focused on the drum. Garbus has teamed up with outside producers for the first time, as well. And her choice of producers is kind of interesting. Instead of turning towards more rock and electronic oriented individuals the producers come from hip hop and R&B. Malay who's worked with Frank Ocean, Alicia Keys and Big Boi, and John Hill who counts Rihanna, Shakira and M.I.A. as past collaborators both contributed to the album. Despite the outside influence Nikki Nack is a remarkably focused album. The playfulness of past efforts is intact while Garbus' innate confidence seems to have been bolstered. She does things with her voice that might catch you off guard at first but are ultimately endearing. Nate Brenner continues his role as as a bassist, synth player, and co-writer as well. Ultimately Nikki Nack sounds like the collaboration of Garbus' imaginary friends turned outward for the world to experience. Limited edition red vinyl pressing, includes free MP3.
- music label: 4AD 2014
reviewed by Michu Meszaros 05/2014