w h o k i l l, the sophomore album by Merrill Garbus's tUnE-yArDs will thrill fans of the live show that left most stunned in 2010. No longer is Garbus's artful songwriting and soulful voice obscured by digital fuzz as it often was in her solo debut, BiRd-BrAiNs. As Merrill transplanted herself and her belongings from Montreal to sunny Oakland, California, touring almost non-stop for over two years, tUnE-yArDs stripped away to a more precise, more concentrated, more vivid sound. On w h o k i l l, the honesty of the lonely bedroom confessional remains, but has grown the fangs and claws and dented metal of its new surroundings. Garbus has applied the tUnE-yArDs' live approach to her studio work for the first time in w h o k i l l. Her tools have not changed. Rather, she's added more buttons and joints to those already being used (one essential new joint is dexterous bass member Nate Brenner, who co-wrote a few songs.) The opportunities exploited are evident in w h o k i l l's dynamic range as it matches Garbus's creative strides. There's no substitute for a good microphone, and the sonic nuances that can only be achieved through masterful recording techniques - producer Garbus and engineer Eli Crews are to be thanked - can be heard in each drumbeat and vocal line. So here we have it. A remarkable record, from a creative force so strong and focused, w h o k i l l practically jumps out of its shoes.