Hiatus Kaiyote - Mood Valiant


Photo Credit ~ @TreKoch

Label: Brainfeeder Released: June 2021


Hiatus Kaiyote may be one of the only bands currently recording who are able to find that rare sweet spot of being technically progressive, sensitive and beautiful. In truth we have not seen such musical dexterity melded with raw vulnerable depth and accessibility since the heyday of Radiohead.


The wonderful thing about both bands is that whilst each have an understanding and influence of Jazz, Hiatus Kaiyote cannot be separated from the essence of Soul, Neo Soul specifically. The absolutely unique delivery of singer/guitarist Nai Palm combined with the Jazz voicings in the keys blends with strange ‘found sound’ stabbing drums that create a strangely spliced excitement. It flows effortlessly - a trait that has been present since the group’s first project way back in 2013.


Mood Valiant opens with beautiful strings soaring over sounds of nature that then move into cascading Rhodes parts, against drums that are expressly solid yet do not detract from the sensitivity of the project. This is a stylistic calling card that carries through all of Hiatus Kaiyote’s work, they somehow take the passion inherent in playing hard and compress it into a most harmonious uplifting force, sensitive yet deep and strong.


That said, there are certainly characteristically abrasive and challenging sounds present throughout the project, but they are wholly welcomed. It is a polite rebellion against the current realms of Alternative Jazz/Soul that have at times found it easier to settle for the opiate sounds of the purely mellow and sensual, or the overly audacious rhythms of progressive epics that neglect the necessary spiritual aspects of music.


Due to the harrowing experiences that Nai Palm endured within the past 6 years amidst the project’s production, those elusive emotions other than despair and despondency manage to permeate the dead soul of the hour. This level of Soul can only come from knowing the hardest hardships and whenever you think for a moment that the project has lent back and become happy to rely on its insane musical dexterity, you will find deeper and deeper meaning and beauty.