i can feel you creep into my private life

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Tune-Yards made a timely return with i can feel you creep into my private life, a vibrant album that explores the political and cultural tumult of the late 2010s with anthemic heft and individualistic perspectives. Merrill Garbus' creative process included DJ'ing, taking workshops on race, and doing lots of writing, all of which can be felt in the album's poppier sound, its leaner, more direct confrontations and confessions, and the skill with which she and Nate Brenner examine race, politics, and feminism. They're as confident on big-picture songs like "Coast to Coast" and "ABC 123" which respectively envision a sinking New York and a burning California, as they are on "Look at Your Hands," a bouncy expression of connection and responsibility, and "Colonizer," where Garbus sings about using her "white woman's voice" over a gnawing beat that suggests a colony of termites or a multiplying virus. While i can feel you creep into my private life is less overtly whimsical than Tune-Yards' previous albums, Garbus and Brenner still manage to have fun in ways that don't detract from its urgency. With its junkyard beats and tumbling layers of vocals, "Private Life" is equally joyous and searching -- in other words, quintessential Tune-Yards. Likewise, "Hammer" feels like the spiritual heir to "Water Fountain" in the way it juxtaposes oppression with irresistible rhythms and harmonies. Brenner and Garbus balance dynamic songs like these and the bold opening track "Heart Attack" with reflective moments such as "Home" and the dubby "Who Are You," both of which ensure there's as much questioning as proclaiming on the album. Though many more artists became politically outspoken in the years following W H O K I L L and Nikki Nack, Tune-Yards' passionate commentary and innovative sounds are just as potent as ever, and i can feel you creep into my private life might just be their most cohesive set of songs yet.

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