Tune-Yards – sketchy.

Tune-Yards return with bombast, and the permission to take a breather if it all gets too much

Album Review by Cheri Amour | 22 Mar 2021
  • tune-yards - Sketchy.
Album title: sketchy.
Artist: Tune-Yards
Label: 4AD
Release date: 26 Mar

In the opening track to Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, she asks: 'Why are you so petrified of silence? / Here can you handle this?' With everything that’s going on in the world at the moment, can we? Tune-Yards, the moniker of Merrill Garbus and longtime collaborator Nate Brenner, explore these dynamics in sketchy. as silence pt. 2 (who is “we?”) treats us to a minute of nothingness. 

It’s unsettling, disruptive, and entirely what you’d expect from Tune-Yards. For over a decade now, the pair have been creating their polyphonic music – from the playful social commentary of 2014’s Nikki Nack to the electronic introspection of 2018’s I can feel you creep into my private life. sketchy., then, finds the band stepping away from the digital screens and reaching for live instruments instead. It's evident in tracks like make it right. with its skronking jazz horns, and homewrecker’s tight-stacked, snare raps. 

As always with Tune-Yards though, it’s never just about handclaps and hopscotch basslines.

hold yourself. oozes pop sophistication alongside the need to wake up and affect change: 'We all have doubts / We all have rage / We all have trouble being / Brave enough to turn the page'. Similarly, be not afraid. urges us to look past our fears and embrace the here and now. Because, despite its name, there’s nothing ambiguous about Tune-Yards’ return. They’re back with bombast and the permission to take a breather if it all gets too much. 

Listen To: homewrecker, under your lip, hold yourself.