Yves Tumor, the experimental musical project of Miami-native Sean Bowie who is not 50 years old (a rumor that was recently debunked), released their fifth studio album, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) on 17 March 2023.
An effortless blend of post-punk, experimental, ‘80s, and goth music, Yves Tumor and their band worked tirelessly over the past three years to create the masterpiece that is Praise. The 12-track album starts with “God Is a Circle” and opens with a piercing scream, alluding to listeners that this LP and its rollout truly come in like a lion and out like a lamb. “Lovely Sewer,” “Meteora Blues,” “Interlude,” and “Parody” are softer tracks that are reminiscent of Yves’ often-mentioned protege Prince, specifically his 1982 LP 1999. Characterized by highly-reverbed vocals, spaced-out production, and delicately mixed drums, “Lovely Sewer” goes down as one of the most memorable tracks of this release; Yves’s and a currently uncredited female guest artist’s vocals blend effortlessly atop The Cure’s “One Hundred Years,” sampled here. The sample itself is impressive both sonically and logistically; it is not obvious, as producers Noah Goldstein, Elliott Kozel, Bowie, and Simon Christiensen sparingly use the instrumentation of “One Hundred Years” in “Lovely Sewer.” Moveover, clearing a track from one of the most notable alternative/post-punk bands is not an easy feat. From the long-winded process of sample clearance to the potential of lawsuits (a la DJ Spanish Fly and the $uicideboy$), Yves is no stranger to the gripes of such a process. “That Feeling When You Walk Away (PAN 73)” from Yves’s Serpent Music (2016) was removed from all streaming platforms due to the track’s use of an uncleared sample.
After the glorious falsettos brought forth by “Heaven Surrounds Us Like a Hood,” Praise takes a turn down a heavier, abrasive route for the rest of its runtime. “Operator,” the seventh track on this LP, sets lead bassist Gina Ramirez’s frenetic and bold instrumentation at the center of this fast-paced, dramatic composition. Tumor’s vocals are harsh, whining, and provocative; mirroring the main sound presented in their 2021 release, The Asymptotical World EP. Ramirez’s mesmerizing basslines continue to be a main element in tracks like “In Spite of War,” “Echolalia,” “Fear Evil Like Fire,” and “Purified By the Fire.” “In Spite of War,” the eighth track on Praise, compiles Yves Tumor’s vocals into an angelic choir. This song in particular exemplifies the holy motif set throughout the album, and listening to it feels akin to a baptism; you’ll feel reborn after each play. Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) goes out like a lamb with “Ebony Eye,” the twelfth and final track on Yves Tumor’s masterpiece of an album. An elegant song that utilizes a harmonious synth as its driving force, “Ebony Eye” concludes Praise with a mystifying sound.
All in all, Yves Tumor continues to outdo themselves in every release, and manages to pleasantly surprise their listeners every time by pushing the sonic envelope. While focusing on a softer sound instead of the heavily industrial, ambient tones prominent in When Man Fails You (2015) and Safe In The Hands of Love (2018), Tumor cements themselves as the millennials’ and Gen Z’s Prince or Brian Eno.