Sunday Sweets: Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind
Each week the Sunday Sweets team dive into our Sweet 16 and Feature Albums.
Artist: Yves Tumor
Album: Heaven to a Tortured Mind
Yves Tumor is an experimental, soul, rock, pop and electronic project spearheaded by American artist Sean Bowie. One of our most interesting modern artists, they create with a mysteriously ethereal artistry across multiple artistic disciplines subverting the expectations of gender and genre in a way reminiscent of their legendary namesake.
Prior to now Yves has happily dwelled within the obscure and experimental worlds, leaning slightly too heavily into the eclectic and murky to create a definitive, palatable project for the masses.
On ‘Heaven to a Tortured Mind’ however, Yves has harnessed all of their skills and creativity into a cohesive and powerful genre-bending piece of music.
Yves brilliantly fusing Arca styled electronics and industrial noise, FKA Twigs’ dramatic art pop, the sensual, funky soul of Prince and the anthemic hooks of Oasis and the Britpop movement.
Creating a modern idiosyncratic masterpiece that deconstructs our expectations of a pop album. Before carefully putting it back together, creating something wholly unique and chaotic in the process. It is clear that all these crazy ideas have been placed carefully upon the wall, rather than thrown randomly with the hopes of something sticking.
Contrary to contemporary trends, Yves has embraced a more rocky take on his experimental soul sound. Utilising maximal mixes of seductive glam rock vocals, epic choruses and crunchy electric guitars. Fusing experimental structure, tripped out synths and sounds to create psychedelic soul more reminiscent of Ariel Pink than Sly and the Family Stone.
These pieces come together to form the album’s lead single and centrepiece ‘Kerosene’. A soaring duet featuring booming art rock production and powerfully emotional companion vocals from Diana Gordon.
On ‘Heaven to a Tortured Mind’, Yves’s vocal range is mind blowing. Levelling up dramatically from previously acting as a deliberately obscured part of a greater whole, to a confident main attraction. Utilising deep and erotic vocals, angelic falsettos similar to collaborator ECCO2K and an eclectic scale of vocal modulations to deliver obscure lyrics focused on anxieties, love, loss and pain.
Yves’s pained, hoarse vocals tie the record’s chaos together, creating a consistently dark and emotional atmosphere. At times sounding like if Lil Peep had embraced an avant-garde aesthetic rather than the emo-rap route he followed.
Yves Tumor’s ‘Heaven to a Tortured Mind’ is both challenging and strange, and catchy and addicting. It is immediately impactful, whilst so dense and murky that something new can be found and appreciated on every listen.
Written by Matt Thorley