Tune-Yards, Electric Brixton - gig review

Merrill Garbus unveils a strikingly adult vocal

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“Last time we were on stage, there was no one in the audience.” Thus Merrill Garbus explains her profuse thanks to a frankly ecstatic bunch of followers crammed into the first of two club dates that provide respite from the vagaries of the festival circuit.

Shame, really, for as Tune-Yards, Garbus's combination of ceremonial rhythms, choral vocals and reggae basslines provides an infectious, kaleidoscopic sound to turn the most po-faced witnesses into fervent acolytes.

With third album Nikki Nack, the solo artist has moved from DIY indie to leftfield art-pop, somewhere between Arcade Fire communalism (both draw inspiration from Haiti) and St Vincent's stylish angularity (this New England former puppeteer retains a theatrical bent).

The childlike Garbus, though, grins joyously, shining just as much as her shimmering garb.

Yet with eco-fable 'Water Fountain', she reminds us of the darkness in children's tales, its playground chant a highlight along with the more soulful 'Real Thing', when after showcasing her capacity for wails and ululations, Garbus unveils a strikingly adult vocal.

The multi-instrumentalist thrills us by looping vocals and percussion or strumming her ukulele, though it is when Garbus's four bandmates take some of the load that she really shines.