Tanya Tagaq – Retribution
- Nicola Meighan
- 9 November 2016
Provocative new album from the Inuit throat singer
A couple of years back, Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq saw off competition from Drake and Arcade Fire (among others), and lifted Canada's Mercury-equivalent, the Polaris Prize. The some-time Björk collaborator bagged the gilded accolade for her third LP, Animism – a ferocious, radical meditation on social and political turmoil, ecocide, and much besides.
That record's follow-up, Retribution, is no less provocative, stunning or uncompromising. If anything, there's an upsurge in the passion, venom and outrage that fired up her last defiant offering. 'Why sugarcoat it?' asks the LP's accompanying literature. 'This album is about rape: rape of women, rape of the land, rape of children, despoiling of traditional lands without consent.'
Such a manifesto invokes myriad new levels (and horrors) on Tagaq's cover of Nirvana's, 'Rape Me', (recalling her take on Pixies' 'Caribou' on Animism), but her own compositions are the showstoppers here – from 'Ajaaja's avant-garde lullaby, through the tropical-metal dirge of 'Aorta', to the primal, apocalyptic disco of the title track ('Our mother grows angry / Retribution will be swift / We squander her soil / And suck out her sweet, black blood to burn it … Money has spent us …')
Retribution is a variously horrifying and thrilling portrayal – and exploration – of a tumultuous and destructive world, that variously excoriates capitalism, climate change, and wilful environmental devastation.
It's also a beautiful, ecstatic, and often carnal, record. It features a warm array of musicians and company: Tagaq's alchemic vocal talents are augmented by producer, electronic diviner and lead violinist Jesse Zubot; drummer Jean Martin; Tuvan throat singer Radik Tyülyüsh; rapper Shad; traditional Inuk singer Ruben Komangapik; and – perhaps most notably – Tagaq's own young daughter, Inuuja, whose presence elicits something akin to a tentative hope that there's light in the future.
Retribution is out Fri 18 Nov.