In an interview from a couple of years ago just before the release of his debut, Serpent Music, Sean Bowie (one of many names Yves Tumor goes by) spoke about how he never consciously tries to make music that sounds harsh or noisy, but how the final result comes from translating different moods. Released on the PAN music label, it was an album made from contradicting moods and brash, confrontational, evocative, and sometimes vulnerable pieces that could be difficult to process at times.

Two years later and now signed to Warp, his surprise album Safe in the Hands of Love is no less challenging or experimental: 'Let the Lioness in You Flow Freely' is propelled by a sputtering drum machine and bursts of white noise that pushes everything into the red; 'Hope in Suffering (Escaping Oblivion & Overcoming Powerlessness)' is an unsettling dystopian monologue, and on the comparatively minimal 'Economy of Freedom', Tumor sings from behind lethargic trap-flavored beats and swelling static-y synths in a haunting echo.

The singles released prior to the album retain that adventurous spirit, but they also hint at a shift in direction. The socially conscious 'Noid' (which confronts the harsh realities of racial injustice and police brutality) is upbeat jazzy hip-hop, and the jagged and subdued arrangements of the vivid and sexually charged 'Licking An Orchid' points to early trip-hop. 'Lifetime' is arguably the most stunning thing here. A sombre take on the grief that comes from loss, gently plucked acoustics, mournful brass, and tasteful strings over flurried beats help underscore the feelings of overwhelming despair.

Having been raised in Tennessee and turning to making music at 17 to escape the conservative, racist, homophobic, sexist environment he grew up in, it's no wonder so many of these songs feel so vulnerable and personal. Probably the most startling element about these songs isn't how unconventional they are, but rather how structured they are. Where Tumor's music normally thrives on chaos and unpredictability, here, he focuses on reigning in that unpredictability, and in the process, crafts some truly thrilling and engaging experimental pop music.

Normally, that kind of shift can risk rendering an artist's music sounding restrained or dull, but the music found on Safe in the Hands of Love thrives. It's just as boundary pushing but at the same time, it offers easier access points to the complex and often messy but brilliant world of Yves Tumor.