Yves Tumor’s ‘Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume…’ Is Thrillingly Unfamiliar And Brilliant

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In a fundamental way, it makes sense that Yves Tumor‘s new album, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds), begins with a scream. Perhaps it’s in recognition of the horror that there are people in his life that they still don’t know, as they sing on album opener “God Is A Circle,” or maybe it has to do with something entirely unrelated; but the concept of a scream tying thematically disparate ideas together into something shocking and beautiful ends up being the thrust and thesis of Tumor’s brilliant new album. The blend of drastic differences and epic scopes of Tumor’s previous two records — the weirdo-left field pop thriller from 2018 Safe In The Hands Of Love and 2020’s alien-invades-a-stadium-rock-show effort, Heaven To A Tortured Mind — would lead one to believe that Praise A Lord would offer a different touch, but it’s hard to imagine the otherworldly and thrillingly unfamiliar places Tumor goes without listening to this one-of-a-kind album.

Rather than analyzing where Tumor’s been, though, perhaps it’s best served to contextualize Praise A Lord through its producer, Noah Goldstein, who veers far more towards the art-meets-pop center than anything Tumor’s done before. Rather than sacrificing their style in favor of something closer to commercially friendly, though, Tumor expands their sound to see just how far towards the edges of consumable this work can go.

The results are quite often breathtaking. Goldstein has worked with Frank Ocean, Rosalía, Drake, Rihanna, and Bon Iver, and as such it’s clear that the pop demarcations are going to — to a certain degree — set the course for Praise A Lord, but the album’s true style lies in the subtle details Tumor plants like seedlings; ideas that eventually grow into the hanging canopies that shade the record.

Take the album’s most recent single, “Heaven Surrounds Us Like A Hood,” an AM ’70s-inspired psych-pop jam that suddenly shifts into a sludge-affected slow pop banger. Tumor employs their upper register, floating above buzzing bass lines and cathartic piano chords.

When they sing, “This world feels so ugly when life makes a fool of us,” the song sounds heartbroken and defeated. But it’s in Tumor’s ability to manipulate feelings through vocal feats that allows the song to operate on multiple emotional planes. After all, the chorus ends with, “I love the color blue because / It’s in the sky / And that’s where God is.”

The idea of God also plays a big role in this album, mostly as an abstract figure Tumor can look to. In their hands, the all-being figure is less a dominating presence than a source of strength to look towards in times of struggle. It is the Platonic ideal of what religious figures should represent, namely a safe haven to rely on when shit gets really, really bad. It’s more than ironic that politicians across the country are enacting such a being to protest against people like Tumor, but raging against this sort of broken moral compass also contributes to the brilliance of this album.

On Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds), Yves Tumor creates a world for everyone who wants a space away from our ruined hellscape. This is a place to be who you are, and who that is doesn’t matter; as long as you treat others the same way. To be chewed but not spit is to be loved but not discarded. On their new album, Yves Tumor takes a bite out of the world, but rather than puncturing it, they find places where we might have been weak, and make us whole again through the long, testing process of healing.