Yves Tumor wanders through the fields of genre and takes whatever form is most convenient for his thoughts. In 2016, Serpent Music proved he was fluent in noise and ambient; 2018’s Safe in the Hands of Love demonstrated the musician’s rock and R&B bona fides as well. Though “Gospel for a New Century,” the opening track and lead single from his forthcoming album, Heaven to a Tortured Mind, may sound like a straightforward rock anthem, the enigmatic title and propulsive production herald grander subjects—perhaps apocalypse, perhaps rebirth—than the broken relationship hinted at in its lyrics.
A sunny strummed melody narrates the initial coupling, while the impending collapse is represented by a horn and drum sample that could be a Donuts interlude. The frenzied shifts between chaotic rhythm and acoustic reverie mirror Tumor’s longing for a point in the past when things were more clear. “Cause when I really needed you the most, yeah, you were gone then,” he sings. As he gradually loses control over this situation, his croon becomes a sneer. By the time he screams, “This ain’t by design, girl,” there’s no going back.