A life-affirming return...
Hiatus Kaiyote Artwork

Six years and a pandemic since their last album, Australian jazz-funk band Hiatus Kaiyote are finally releasing their third album Mood Valiant. With its rich, colourful soundscapes, tropical atmosphere, and lead singer Nai Palm’s soulful voice, it’s a strong follow-up to 'Choose Your Weapon' (2015) and a perfect soundtrack for the summer.

The Melbourne quartet started working on 'Mood Valiant' while they were touring after 'Choose Your Weapon’s release. However, the album was put on hold when frontwoman Nai Palm was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a life-saving mastectomy, she recovered with a renewed perspective on life; the band triumphantly completed the album.

Despite being a long time in the works, Mood Valiant conveys a sense of spontaneity and improvisation. Two of Mood Valiant’s best songs, ‘Red Room’ and ‘Stone Or Lavender’, were conceived overnight by the band in the studio of Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai. His collaboration influenced the sound of the whole album and produced the gorgeous strings in ‘Get Sun’.

The result is an album that feels full of life and vitality. ‘Chivalry Is Not Dead’ is a whimsical, pop-inspired tune about the mating rituals of leopard slugs and seahorses, while ‘Sip Into Something Soft’ is laid-back and sunny, adding to the tropical theme with a background of birdsong.

‘Red Room’ and ‘And We Go Gentle’ stand out with their sultry bass and Nai Palm’s breathy R&B vocals. The poignant ballad ‘Stone Or Lavender’ also showcases her vocal expertise, seeing her voice rise to powerful crescendos and fall again to near- whispers.

Then, the rich instrumentation of ‘Get Sun’ and ‘Rose Water’ makes them the 'Mood Valiant’s most delightful, summery tracks while ‘Blood And Marrow’ ends the album on a playful note of tinkling piano, birdsong, and exuberant vocal yelps.

Altogether, 'Mood Valiant' is a joyous, frolicking ode to renewed life. It signals a strong return for Hiatus Kaiyote.

8/10

Words: Rebecca Sibley

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