Whenever I have the job of driving a group of friends around or I’m on a date I always try to shoehorn in a couple artists to the playlist to see how my passengers will react. SOPHIE is usually my go to, sometimes Young Fathers are my choice, but the last couple times it’s always been Yves Tumor. I don’t remember how I found them, but the first song I heard by them was Noid. That was enough to make me dive deeper into their catalogue. I hadn’t heard tamed chaos like that in quite sometime. It was a fresh sound, a sound that I desperately needed. It’s a terrible thought process to have, but almost everything sounds the same nowadays. It feels like everyone is copying someone that has already broken forth to the mainstream and since there 8 billion people on Earth that means there’s hundreds of thousands of people doing the exact same thing. There’s always something to compare most acts to. “Oh, this sounds like Smino,” “Oh, this sounds like a fake Brent Faiyaz,” “Oh, this sounds like yet another Flower Boy runoff.” But sometimes you find the needle in the haystack, that’s artists like LOWERLIPDRIP, SOPHIE, Hanni El Khatib, and the topic for today: Yves Tumor.

Nothing can prepare you for the emotions that this album will make you feel because there’s nothing out there that sounds like it that’s this good. Of course there’s people out there that are putting a 21st century spin on glam rock and noise rock, but none can do it like Yves can. I’m hyping it up because it deserves it, this was my favorite album of 2020 because no other release caused me to revisit it over and over again. It jampacked with classics and it starts from the beginning with Gospel For A New Century. That intro makes you wonder what you’re in for because it sounds like a run of the mill sample loop with a drum fill over it. Then, Yves’ vocals come in with their southern-european-valley accent and the bassline too. Then, we get to the hook and all hell breaks loose and it feels like a cannonball is shot right through your speakers. The contrast between the hook and the verses is astonishing. The verses are like the eye of the storm, an odd calmness in the middle of a hurricane. It doesn’t stick around for long until we’re thrown back into the fray and we’re at the mercy of Yves. The chaos continues right into Medicine Burn. All of the elements of this track mix together into this apocalyptic-flavored gumbo, Yves is screaming their head off, there’s a heavily-distorted guitar loop, distorted and glitched out screams, and this wicked bassline + drums combo to anchor it all. This all sounds like it would not work, but it does! That’s what Yves does best though, taking elements that shouldn’t work together and somehow making sense to the madness. Kerosene! is the most easily-accessible song we’re probably ever going to get from Tumor and that’s absolutely alright. It’s a powerful-hard rock track that starts off with Tumor and Diana Gordon singing in softer ranges, then we get to the hook and the tempo goes through the roof. It’s like this track transported here from the 80’s, it was made for playing along with an air guitar. The star of this show is Diana Gordon. As soon as she comes she commands your attention and doesn’t let it go. Her range is on full display as she goes from softly harmonizing behind Tumor’s vocals to immediately jumping up a million octaves then coming right back down and sounding more operatic. Her solo is incredible. Super Stars to me is the star of this story, solely because of Hirakish’s vocal performance. I can’t really explain why his voice just captures my ears, but it sounds like audio honey. Perfectly smooth for the instrumentation, the vocals are able to mesh with the other instruments so well that if you’re not paying attention then you’ll forget he’s singing. That mixed with Tumor’s background vocals and you just have the perfect combination for a song. The hook on this song just sounds like pure insane infatuation. Like, making out while a million fireworks go off behind you. You’ve wanted to make out with this person forever and it’s everything you’ve dreamed of. Exactly like that. Finally, A Greater Love is an absolutely PERFECT way to send this album off. It just sounds like the calm after the storm. It offers you time to fully take in what you just experienced while offering you some amazing sounds at the same time. The grooves are infectious and you’ll find it near impossible not to bob your head while you listen. Hirakish and Clara La San provide most of the vocals and their harmonies can almost bring a tear to your eye if you’re not paying attention. Then, adding Henry Schiff’s drums and that sporadic electric guitar is like the icing on a perfectly crafted cake.

As can tell, I love this album. I could’ve written much more, but I decided against it. Listen for yourself then (if you know me of course) let me know how you feel about it. I preach the gospel of Yves Tumor to whoever will listen and it would be great to find people who get it.

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