Merrill Garbus is a bit of a musical polymath. Her songs could never be called strictly R&B, folk, post-punk, lo-fi pop or jazz. Nor does she merely sing, play guitar, execute unconventional percussion and hash together electronic sounds for something like a live sound collage. In that way, her music as tUnE-yArDs is akin to that of other tuneful experimentalists like Broadcast, St. Vincent and David Byrne. Even a casual listen to tUnE-yArDs' debut full-length, BiRd BrAiNs, reveals a time-traveling songwriter who allows ambient sounds to bleed into the recordings and who freely appropriates Carmen Miranda and the Raincoats with equal aplomb. Engaging and energetic, tUnE-yArDs takes idiosyncratic, even avant-garde, music and makes it accessible and fun.
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