It’s been four years since we last heard from Tune-Yards (oft still stylized as tUnE-yArDs, as we all surely know by now) and it seems a Californian retreat has served Merrill Garbus well. Here she is, in the mess that is 2018, atoning for her sins, with I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life serving as her very own confessional: this time she’s shutting down the haters by flying her woke flag loud and proud.

Garbus and partner Nate Brenner’s Tune-Yards has always been critical darlings, though on the flipside was the gnawing sense of unease that there was some cultural appropriation going on in everything from the music itself to the singing style – I'm looking at you ‘Rocking Chair’. Here, Garbus is dealing with not just appropriation, but the deeply ingrained racism, sexism, and rising fascism that is so pervasive in our world. Again, welcome to 2018.

At times tracks like ‘Colonizer’ are hard to stomach as a brewing storm of cacaphonic samples rumbles on while Garbus confrontationally wails: “I use my white woman’s voice to tell stories of travels with African men, I comb my white woman’s hair with a comb made especially, generally for me.” You get the impression this isn’t meant to be an easy listen and, in that, Tune-Yards have succeeded a little too well. Luckily, this is uncommon.

Elsewhere on their fourth full length the musical backing takes on a life of its own. ‘ABC 123’ has an almost disco rattle to it, so when her political agenda seeps in: “I called you up because we had a great connection, you couldn’t hear me ‘cause of NSA protection,” you’re dancing to a well constructed pop song rather than trying to get through it. The double-quick clap beats and kick-drums on ‘Heart Attack’ are similarly contagious and Nate Brenner’s bass is working full time on the grooves so when the strings cut through and you fall into a Lynchian nightmare and, however momentarily, it’s terrifying. Throughout this Garbus’ powerhouse vocals are an anchor.

Garbus and Brenner have fine-tuned the signature Tune-Yards sound over the course of their four albums and it’s definitely present here with homage to DJ culture as well as African drumming and even discordant jazz saxophone. Tracks like the menacing ‘Private Life’ reveal Garbus’ inner demons as she chants: “I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna, hear my lies, hear my lies,” but while this may lyrically be a challenging album, musically it’s their most accessible.

In the past four years we’ve seen world leaders we never expected, human rights violations in the form of racial abuse and gender discrimination not to mention homophobia and we’ve seen all of this creep into our private lives no matter where in the world you are. Tune-Yards latest is a record dominated by the society it both critiques and is a part of.