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  • Ibe Bey

ALBUM REVIEW: Hiatus Kaiyote, Mood Valiant

Grade: C+

Hiatus Kaiyote, the Melbourne-based, twice-Grammy nominated band have ended their long break with Mood Valiant. This is the third installment in the band’s discography after Tawk Tomahawk and Choose Your Weapon. Nai Palm (guitar, vocals), Paul Bender (bass), Simon Mavin (keys) and Perrin Moss (drums) follow up their impressive 2015 album with another high quality project packed with yet more must-hear production from a group in prime form.

“Mood Valiant” sees the band leap back into action, as the production glows with nostalgia. Surveying sounds throughout the decades, Kaiyote revives troupes from the ‘90s, many of which were abandoned. The jazzy percussion perfectly charge the tracks with energy, and the vocals are either an added layer or essential to the song’s sound. Nai Palm has never sounded better, her stacked vocals beautifully channeling the likes of Aaliyah and Janelle Monae. Hiatus Kaiyote sounds livelier than before. Mood Valiant drips with love and attention, with no single contributor stealing the show for long.

The group had expertly paved their own niche of jazz-infused neo-soul, crafting a sound that was distinctly theirs. Cinematic strings and angelic choir-like harmonies open “Flight Of The Tiger Lily”, blending perfectly with the opening of “Slip Into Something Soft.” “Sparkle Tape Break Up” carries a nostalgic type of sound. The track is more stripped back than the rest of the record, opening simply with just keys and vocals. “Please don’t bury us unless we’re seeds”. The piano is supported by soft strings, creating an unexpected emotional track.

In a rare time when we have not felt so connected, ‘Mood Valiant’ has come along to remind us just what it feels like. The lyrics are unashamedly poetic while the musical aspect is intricate and innovative. With inspiration drawn from Bossa Nova during their travels and collaboration, Hiatus Kaiyote take the romanticism of the genre and fuse it with their distinct sound.

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