Four-piece band Hiatus Kaiyote, from Melbourne Austrailia, recently re-released their stunning debut album “Tawk Tomahawk” on Sony Masterworks’ imprint Flying Buddha, after an initial release via their bandcamp a year earlier which took the underground music world by storm and received much deserved praise from pioneers across the globe.
Tawk Tomahawk defies genre boundaries, forming a sonic montage of electronic, soul, jazz, folk and rock. Throughout the album the band revert back and forth from different sounds and styles, creating tracks that are fearless and unpredictable.
Lead singer Nai Palm is the core of the group, a powerful, angelic voice that captures the listener at every moment and playfully glides through different tones and pitches with seamless ease. The background singers provide a subtle counterpart to her, generating rich vocal layers at carefully picked moments.
There is an epic quality to many of the tracks. “Lace Skull” begins with a melancholic guitar riff, and slowly builds to a fierce climax at the 2:50 mark, before suddenly reducing once again to something simple and emotionally distinct.
Tawk Tomahawk also has its share of instrumental interludes, which the listener might wish were full tracks in themselves. “Rainbow Rhodes” is a heavenly piece laced with twinkling keys and off-kilter drums. “Sphinx Gate” is similar in its approach and displays the band’s hip-hop influence.
“Nakamarra” is the final and perhaps most well-known track of the album; a carefree gem that gives its name to an aboriginal group of the western desert. The re-released album contains an additional version of this track featuring a brief but smooth verse from the man Q-Tip, which fits in nicely.
All in all, this album is as unique as it is daring, authentic as it is enigmatic. Already touring the globe with their impressive live show, and previewing tracks like this, Hiatus Kaiyote are surely set for great things.