Yves Tumor - Safe in the Hands of Love

by Tim Sentz Rating:9 Release Date:2018-09-05
Yves Tumor - Safe in the Hands of Love
Yves Tumor - Safe in the Hands of Love

Surprise released to the masses just this week, Sean Bowie - a.k.a. Yves Tumor - returns after only a year removed from his self-released compilation. But whereas Experiencing The Deposit of Faith took an ambient electronic approach, Safe in the Hands of Love is, in essence, a total one-eighty. Over the course of the 42-minute album, Tumor slams, bams, and crams every potential influence and sound he can conjure up. The result is nothing short of incredible.

Steeped in soul and jazz, but painted over with lo-fi and noise rock, Safe in the Hands of Love is an exploration into stylistic experimentation that somehow renders itself as bubblegum pop almost. After a 90 second jazzy intro, “Economy of Freedom” properly starts the album with a noisy, electronic cut assisted by Danish producer Croatian Amor – and it literally sounds like something you’d expect from the enigmatic Burial, all drenched in dark moods and layers of destructive beats. Yves Tumor’s whispery vocals come creeping in, but it never deters the building of “Economy of Freedom,” only adds to it.

“Honesty” is revamped chill-wave, but the album kicks into high gear with early preview “Noid,” a clear song-of-the-year contender. It bangs, and Bowie’s knack for rhythmic courses and pulsating bridges comes into full focus. It’s followed by “Licking an Orchid,” which brings things down a notch with added vocals from producer James K. before Sonic Youth-ing our ears with straight noise laced melody. It’s balancing between that serene pop and the chaotic experimentation that the genre has seen a healthy explosion in lately from the likes of serpentwithfeet and SOPHIE.

Somehow, Safe In the Hands of Love manages to have two song-of-the-year contenders as “Lifetime” keeps the energy alive. Bowie’s layering here pleases the ears on so many different levels – rapid-fire drum loops, loud bass thumps, epic choruses – it’s hard to believe this is classified as experimental anymore. “Lifetime” deserves a spot on some soundtrack for a popular movie or television show, and I won’t be surprised to hear it next year on something, especially with its social aware lyrics and accessible beats.

“Hope In Suffering (Escaping Oblivion and Overcoming Powerlessness)” is likely to be the most skipped track by casual listeners on the album. It acts as the segue between the album halves. Drone-drenched vocals are weaved in and out with screams of terror and noise from Puce Mary, it’s like being stuck in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner; you can hear the thudding of helicopter propellers above you – the foreboding vocals sound like a Big Brother, all robotic and fierce. It’s a peculiar method, but it definitely clears the palette.

“Recognizing the Enemy” whips you right back into a comfort zone, with lovely strings and inviting vocals. Bowie’s messing with our heads, but in a grand and exciting way. And while some of the soundscapes he’s crafted here won’t be for everyone, he’s done so much to entice his listeners with such care and thoughtfulness. His previous work has had some semblance of pop structures, but he’s full on here, and while it may aggravate his die-hard listeners, it opens up the floodgates for more adulations from newcomers. When Animal Collective made a similar leap with Merriweather Post Pavilion, it was hailed as a landmark pop album of the 2000s. This isn’t that level of a leap, but it shows where his head is at with this.

Tumor has crafted an album with a little bit of everything for any type of listener, something not all artists can effectively do. He’s got grand hip-hop explorations like “All the Love We Have Now” and in-your-face noise rock like on album closer “Let The Lioness In You Flow Freely.” His lyrics are topical and yet refreshing. It may not break the mold or launch Tumor into the mainstream pop stratosphere, but he has crafted one of the best albums of 2018.

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