Nicki Nack (4AD)

Phases & Stages


Nikki Nack (4AD)

Much like my favorite childhood texts, dark narratives constructed around general silliness, Merrill Garbus' third album as Tune-Yards ushers us onto a playground teeming with Haitian drums, recess rhymes, and Eighties R&B. Sociopolitical themes pulse under the carnival melee, every sonic silver lining inlaid with stark thematics. Lead single "Water Fountain" builds to handclaps and whoops, bassist Nate Brenner thumping the track to cohesion, but for all the musical romp, Garbus decries capitalism and works in a Macbeth reference: "He gave me a dollar/ A blood-soaked dollar/ I cannot get the spot out/ But that's OK/ It still works in the store." Continuing Whokill's aural kitchen sink approach ("Find a New Way," "Stop That Man"), Nikki Nack simplifies in places without going bare bones. A driving beat largely freed of frills, "Wait for a Minute" reiterates that, despite the glossy production work, Garbus' greatest asset remains her voice. That wail she employs as a macabre bedtime croon carries in it more than child's play.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Tune-Yards
ACL Music Fest 2014 Saturday Interviews
3:30pm, RetailMeNot stage

Abby Johnston, Oct. 3, 2014

Fun Fun Fun Shots

Melanie Haupt, Nov. 11, 2011

More Music Reviews
Hot Summer Nights Reviews: Choux Choux, Norman Ba$e, El Combo Oscuro, Billy Glitter
Hot Summer Nights Reviews
Free music fest cools out record hot summer

Kevin Curtin, Aug. 12, 2022

Jack White Swings for the Fences at Austin Sandlot
Jack White Swings for the Fences at Austin Sandlot
Singer/guitarist/first baseman hits home run in post-arena show baseball game

Kevin Curtin, June 3, 2022

More by Abby Johnston
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
ATX Queer Music Fest, Ovey Fest, New Candys, Bryan Carter, and more local shows worth seeing

Aug. 5, 2022

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
George Clinton, Caramelo Haze, Hulder, RippleFest, and more local shows worth seeing

July 22, 2022



One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle