Hiatus Kaiyote’s debut, Tawk Tomahawk, is one hell of an introduction to the band.
For those who didn’t catch it when originally released last year, in Tawk Tomahawk the Melbourne-based quartet crafted a collection of tracks with a sound not often heard in home-grown acts.
The music they make blends the melodies and atmosphere of soul (in the style of Bobby Womack or notable Hiatus Kaiyote fan Erykah Badu) with hip hop sensibilities and almost post-punk experimentation.
The songs are quirky, funky, jazzy and intriguing, offering up both grooves and pop hooks. It certainly isn’t your normal indie band fair. (And they also have some super weird song titles. Fact.)
Among the album’s standout elements are crisp, vintage sounding drums and a wide-open production aesthetic that gives the songs room to breathe and evolve. This is perhaps best heard on ‘Lace Skull’ and ‘The World It Softly Lulls.’
The vocals from frontwoman Nai Palm are well executed, but given less attention compared to the instrumentation and arrangements – particularly on ‘Mobius Streak’. While this is disappointing considering her obvious talent, the quality of the encompassing effort speaks for itself.
This 2013 re-issue on Sony imprint Flying Buddha features a collaboration with legendary A Tribe Called Quest MC Q-Tip on a new version of album closer ‘Nakamarra’. It’s an addition that steals the show and becomes the record’s clear highlight.
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Hopefully the extra star power will make even more people take notice of this exhilaratingly unusual and talented troupe.