With Heaven To A Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor revels in a rock star mythos built to hypnotize and seduce with its hazy hedonism. Tumor, who uses they/them pronouns, first made waves with the 2018 release of Safe In The Hands of Love, an enthralling mix of experimental noise and electronic ambiance. Heaven favors a more mainstream sound but there’s still the same genre fluidity that defines their earlier works. The album is glam rock made for 2020, complete with touches of fuzzy psychedelia, noise and soul.
Tumor kicks things off with “Gospel For A New Century,” an indelible blend of swaggering horns and percussion-driven by a sultry charisma that quickly sets the record’s tone. Touch feels nearly perceptible throughout as Tumor sings of lost love and secret ecstasy. The warm textures and full-band feeling of the production give the music all the physicality of a smoke-filled, hidden rock club of eras past, but no instrument is as tactile as Tumor’s voice. Throaty howls and raspy intonations make up the record’s fabric. On “Super Stars,” a punctuated falsetto takes the spotlight; on “Dream Palette,” Tumor’s voice haunts as they question “Tell me, is this fundamental love?” amidst driving guitars and firework-like whistles. All this comes to a head on “Kerosone!,” a dizzying five-minute duet with singer Diana Gordon that takes its time letting the seduction simmer. The pot inevitably boils over with an explosive guitar solo as Gordon and Tumor’s hushed yearnings give way to intoxicated screams. The effect is pure rapture.
Review by Annie Lyons