-Album Reviewed by Jake Kresovich–
Bands rarely sweep you off your feet with mellow, entrancing vibes that beg to be put on repeat in the same way as Hiatus Kaiyote. The four-piece band from Melborne, Australia has a sound reminiscent of Erykah Badu’s emotionally driven compositions. Led by front woman Nai Palm, Hiatus Kaiyote put forth their debut album, Tawk Tomahawk, earlier this year. Although the album didn’t get much attention upon its first release, the music found its way to the right ears. With encouragement from Questlove and other well-respected musicians, the band re-issued Tawk Tomahawk under Sony Masterworks’ imprint, “Flying Buddha.”
The album fades in with a guitar riff that slowly takes form as a drum beat falls in underneath. Layered on top, Palm’s voice guides the direction of the melody. “Mobius streak” welcomes the listener with a warm melody that is uplifting albeit restrained, setting the tone for the album.
In the ensuing songs, the music becomes more confrontational. The short tracks of “Ocelot” and “Boom Child” explore coarse and heavy melodies but pleasantly retain a hint of Palm’s soft voice.
The album reaches its crescendo with the song “Lace skull.” Here, Palm’s voice loses its aloofness from earlier in the album and grows more assertive. No longer does her expression feel like an accent to the music. She is the driving force. This change in direction is further emphasized by an upbeat tempo from the rhythm section.
Intermission? Listeners relax as two instrumentals return the mood to a more sedated state reminiscent of the album’s intro. The respite is necessary to prime us for what’s ahead:
“Nakamarra” rounds out the album with a beautiful, heart-warming ballad. Palm’s uplifting voice again takes control. She sings of her admiration for her friend Hannah and the artist Doreen Nakamarra, an influential Australian artist known for her work with mentally disabled Aborigines. Her words and tone float like a bird flying freely in the wind, inviting anyone along for the ride. She repeats, “I love you, I love you, I do…” in a tone that draws in, embraces and warms the listener.
Tawk Tomahawk is beautiful album that invites listeners on a journey. This album begs to be played front-to-back, again and again. The future-soul style of Hiatus Kaiyote draws from music legends, improvising and adding unique emotions to the score that can’t be duplicated. Those looking for a pleasing escape into a picturesque world created by sound need look no further. Hiatus Kaiyote strikes the right chords and melodies.
Post Photo Courtesy of: http://www.u-fm.it