Yves Tumor Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) Warp
There is an inescapable sense of momentum to Yves Tumor’s career. Since the experimental artist signed with Warp in 2017 and released their label debut, Safe in the Hands of Love, Tumor (real name Sean Bowie) has been shapeshifting through everything from Dean Blunt-style subdued R&B to bombastic Prince-esque funk and freakout psychedelia with a remarkable confidence. The hallmark of an Yves Tumor record seems to be the capacity to embody disparate genres through the assured power of their voice.
The latest instalment in this unpredictable catalogue is fifth album, Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds). Despite its lengthy title, the record is Bowie’s most commercially accessible; the songs run at just over three minutes, all stuffed with ear-worming melodic hooks, driving rhythms and a sense of euphoric grandiosity.
Those melodies come to the fore in the breathy, wordless vocalisations of Echolalia, the speak-sung baritone refrain of Meteora Blues, and the keening chorus of Ebony Eye. The instrumentals, meanwhile, cut through with grit, featuring thundering basslines on God Is a Circle and Operator, and pounding motorik drums anchoring Fear Evil Like Fire.
The songs are memorable in their directness but none of them are sweetly simplistic. Instead, Bowie’s most valuable skill is in skewing pop-leaning songwriting with flashes of darkness and complexity. It’s there on the warped psychedelic guitars of Heaven Surrounds Us Like a Hood; the melodic bassline and chopped ‘n’ screwed drum samples on the instrumental Purified By the Fire; and the bombastic, soaring vocal in Lovely Sewer is tempered with ringing White Pony-era guitar tones. Praise a Lord… is ultimately Yves Tumor’s take on pop – a deliciously compressed offering harnessing their irrepressible energy; 12 infectious tracks that leave you wanting more. They could well spell Bowie’s mass breakthrough.