'whokill', the sophomore album by merrill garbus' tune-yards, is a thrill for fans of the live show that left most stunned in 2010. no longer is her artful songwriting and soulful voice obscured by digital fuzz as it often was on her solo debut, 'bird-brains'. 'whokill' retains the honesty of the lonely bedroom confessional characteristic of her early work, but with the addition of the fangs, claws and dented metal of its new surroundings. as before, tune-yards grounds its sound in tangible, instantly gratifying techniques. neither digital magic trickery nor auto-tuned dazzle need be applied; tuneyards' music is made by human hands and possessed of a distinctly human touch. this is music created piecemeal, smashed apart wholly, then reassembled tenderly, gaining complexity as the layers stack up. applying the tune-yards live approach to her studio work for the first time on 'whokill', 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 cowrote a few songs. the opportunities exploited are evident in 'whokill's dynamic range, as it matches garbus' 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.