Credit: Jordan Hemingway
by M.G. Mailloux Music

Best Albums of 2020: Yves Tumor | Heaven to a Tortured Mind

December 27, 2020

There is a satisfaction in seeing Yves Tumor deliver an album like Heaven to a Tortured Mind, at once a clever progression of their sonic aesthetic that also manages to blow past the dusty narratives media types love to burden them with. Though, of course, new narratives emerge — this is Yves Tumor’s glam rock album, a fulfillment of the promise of their last name, etc. Opening on the dazzling, appropriately titled “Gospel For A New Century,” one can see how this perception crystallized, the track prioritizing Yves’ slinky vocals and analog instrumentation to an extent heretofore unseen in their catalog. And indeed, the album’s other single, “Kerosene!”, leans into a similarly minded rock ‘n roll melody, yet, like all of their work, Heaven to a Tortured Mind approaches genre affectations as material to be repurposed and reworked into larger compositions. Like their last two albums, Heaven to a Tortured Mind finds Yves guiding us through a terrain of contrasting noise and melody. But unlike their previous work, the songs on this album are not positioned so aggressively against each other, the dramatic swings between chaotic industrial feedback and soulful grooves here quelled and balanced out. Undoubtedly, this is the most streamlined project yet released under the Yves Tumor name, not to mention their catchiest and most pop-skewing. Such descriptors usually imply an artist’s creativity diminished, but Heaven to a Tortured Mind is inventive in its approach, building out Yves’ inventory of sonic elements while still deepening their mythic persona. Yes, this album’s most immediately characterized as a reinvention of sorts, but it is, in fact, more specifically about the act of reinvention and its empowering capacity.

Published as part of Top 25 Albums of 2020 — 25-11.