Yves Tumor’s first album Safe in The Hands of Love brought with it a distinct, gritty and uncompromising sound. Tumor utilised aesthetics of Noise and Industrial genres, blending them with Hip-Hop and R&B influences to create a signature sound. The house style is still recognisable yet Tumor applies his craft to Soul and Funk groundings.
The lead single and opening track of the album Heaven To A Tortured Mind ‘Gospel For A New Century” is an explosive anthem. Grand looping brass and horns are underlined with a driven beat – cutting out at first but then being given room to breathe. ‘Medicine Burn’, the following song, opens with a quiet pause before an unrelenting guitar line, drenched in overdrive writhes and twists in the ear.
‘Asteroid Blues’ is an instrumental track that sounds like a modern rework of Bauhaus, a deep driving bass and open sounding drums with guitar wails interspersed throughout the surprisingly short runtime.
But it is not all aggressive. In the two songs mentioned there are subtleties and nuanced moments that the album parallels in tone. Nimble baselines and delicate synth textures are layered into almost every track in the work. ‘Kerosene!’, ‘Strawberry Privilege’ and ‘Greater Love’ are all Tumor’s attempts at ballads. They are gentler in approach but still have his idiosyncrasies shining through. ‘Kerosene!’ for instance is a duet about a fiery passion, the title’s dark edge suggests that their love is destructive and the duet features three voices. More of Tumor playing with the conventions of Soul in his own way.
All in all, Yves Tumor has crafted a well-rounded album. His signature grit is present throughout, in conjunction with a strong grounding in Soul traditions that allows his sound to be more accessible than in his last work.
It is an enjoyable and swift romp at just over 36 minutes. However, my one critique is that some tracks are a little short which leaves a little to be desired. One aspect I loved from Tumor’s first work was the use of repetition to develop tracks more deeply and I think this record lacks the same depth. However, I understand why he would change his approach, especially if the aim was to create a more accessible sound that comes with the Soul and Funk territory.