Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)

Mar 17, 2023
Web Exclusive

By Andy Steiner

In a 2016 interview with Dazed, Yves Tumor (who uses they/them pronouns) described how the “dull” surroundings of their Tennessee upbringing pushed them to make music. This rejection of dullness shows up in just about everything they make. Their videos take a delectably queer angle on Bowie-esque outfits. Their previous work, particularly 2018’s Safe in the Hands of Love, propelled electronic music to maximal chaos. They’ve “always been obsessed with huge sounds and really powerful parts and vocals,” per an interview with Courtney Love. For Yves Tumor, more is more.

Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) is the most. In its hymn-like title, Tumor offers a paraphrase. “Simply, Hot Between Worlds” gets to the heart of it more quickly. But isn’t there some fun in this gargantuan title? That’s what this record does. It takes the space between pleasure and pain, the “Hot Between Worlds,” and makes it sound as big as possible.

They announce this immediately with a guttural scream on opener “God Is a Circle.” “It feels like/There’s places in my mind that I can’t go,” Tumor murmurs in the opening verse. They treat their mind as an unknowable place and explore it like terrain. There’s the sexy “Red cherry lips” at the periphery of their dreams; their croak to the dominance of the “Operator;” the paranoia that “Everyone you loved loved someone else.” Tumor’s lyrics have always been oblique, but it’s not the specifics that matter. It’s their excavation of the grime, kink, darkness, and joy that makes them such a thrill.

Praise a Lord continues along the trajectory begun by the delicious guitar lick of 2020’s “Kerosene!” Blood-thick guitar smears into echoey atmospherics. At the moment when songs could bellow into radio-friendly rock, they shimmer into sparks.

When Tumor unleashes that stacked guitar tone on “Meteora Blues” or on “In Spite of War,” it’s unclear whether it’s signaling the apocalypse or salvation (or the “Hot Between Worlds?”). Either way, it kicks ass. “Ebony Eye” may be Tumor’s most colossal song yet; its melody crests over a swath of inky guitars. It’s got the kind of swaggering tone that hair metal bands can only dream of.

Tumor has comfortably settled into this niche of glam rock-meets-experimental. Although Praise lacks the cutting edge of their last two records, it’s an even bigger listen, if possible. It’s in the details: the squeal of guitars on “God is a Circle,” the shimmer at the edges of “Lovely Sewer.” Tumor remains a mysterious presence. They hate interviews, ironically according to an interview in Interview Magazine. Their social media is active but impersonal, full of photography shoots and music video stills. But they’ve never felt like an artist without a voice. It’s Tumor’s willingness to occupy space on their own terms that has made them feel like such an important and unique artist. With its lengthy title and constant metamorphoses, Praise may be the definitive Yves Tumor album. That is, until the next one. (

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