Hiatus Kaiyote: Mood Valiant album review
Australian quartet Hiatus Kaiyote is made up of hyper-professional players, prone to the kind of brain indulgence and sophisticated chord progressions best enjoyed by audiences of tuition-paying jazz majors. Fortunately, they also have a knack for airy neo-soul which is as inviting as it is impressive. At the center of their sound is R&B guitarist and singer Nai Palm, and the success of Hiatus Kaiyote’s songs depends on how his comrades accompany his singular and heroic voice. At their best, especially on stage, they accentuate his melodies with propulsive and inventive rhythms. But in the studio, they struggled to sound equally convincing. The performances of Nai Palm’s first solo in 2017, Needle Paw, only pointed out this problem. With its accompaniment reduced to acoustic guitar and vocals, it sounded freer.
At Valiant mood, Hiatus Kaiyote approaches a unity of virtuosity and feeling. No longer content to simply capture the sound of four extremely talented musicians in one piece together, they transform into something more expansive and psychedelic. The fundamentals of their sound, like the sparkling Rhodes electric piano that appears in the short and tender “Sip Into Something Soft”, are still present. But the group soon ventures into new territory. On “Chivalry Is Not Dead”, keyboardist Simon Mavin juggles with squeaky and yawn synths. Bassist Paul Bender and drummer Perrin Moss are typically locked in, guiding us through kaleidoscopic sounds. In the catchiest moments, Hiatus Kaiyote sounds like songwriters and performers in equal measure, living up to their self-proclaimed genre of “future soul”: husky and cyberpunk R&B, with the melted voice of Nai Palm in his heart.
This is Hiatus Kaiyote’s first album that doesn’t look like a simple recorded live set; you can hear them using the studio to broaden their vision of what the band can be. It is the most vibrant they have ever sounded on record. In several winning moments, they present arrangements for strings by Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai, bringing a royal spirit to the single “Get Sun” and the piano ballad “Stone or Lavender”. On the climax of the middle of the album, “All the Words We Don’t Say”, Hiatus Kaiyote is in their bag. The precision and intensity of the music veered towards dubstep, with a swerve at half time punctuated by Moss’s huge bass drum.
Despite all the dynamism of their music, Hiatus Kaiyote has only a few lyrical atmospheres: sensual or ecstatic. Nai Palm is an endearing and stoney lyricist, and, of course, she begins “Chivalry is not dead” with an erotic line that seems to have been inspired by a blazing vision from a nature documentary: “If I were a leopard slug, “she sings,” I would reach out with our blue rose, wrapping myself around you. ” Digging deeper into those feelings – not to mention the sexual reproductive practices they involve – could be a laudable next step. But even when she reduces her lyrics to simple hymns of love, lust, and devotion, her voice enlivens the words with pathos and meaning. On their best album to date, Hiatus Kaiyote shines by building an architecture around these emotions, coming to life when they allow themselves to be more than just a band.
Buy: Crude Trade
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