Hiatus Kaiyote

Choose Your Weapon

Flying Buddha • 2015

The kind of operative art carried out on this record makes Hiatus Kaiyote be the incarnated bomber squadron of peacekeeping. It’s got the power and effectiveness of which the American foreign policy can only dream of. Their first and self-produced record »Tawk Tomahawk«, too, came as a real bomb shell. The blast was to be felt from Hawaii to Shanghai, and it united like-minded people of all nations under one flag. Now, »Choose Your Weapon« is their first LP, and it’s firing polyrhythmic salvos across the previous decades of music history with such a force that it will continue to resonate for quite some time. Its immense impact is mostly due to the quiet and calming soundscape of the Australian Outback, which is just as strong on this record as on their first release. Tracks like »The Lung« or »Fingerprints« are picking up the threads of expanding time where »Malika« or »Leap Frog« left them. And finally, the future musicians from Down Under are even breaking through their usual bpm-range. My personal favorite is the track »Atari«, a kind of musical homage to the pioneers of gaming. The way that Perrin Moss is swirling his (joy-)sticks and Simon Mavis is trying to dethrone the arpeggiator in its functionality with his light-fingeredness, they must have been every game’s boss enemy’s nightmare. »Jekyll« proves their skills once more. After a relaxed intro, they’re hammering away in 6/8 and again in 4/4, like a child hammering against your headrest, so that there’s nothing left to do but nod along. What’s most striking about the new tracks is how flexible time counts really are, especially when harmonies and rhythms are treated as stylistically unbiased as a front singer treats her wardrobe. »Molasses« or »Breathing Underwater« are a kind of musical storytelling straight from the book. 500 years ago, these boys would have been appointed troubadours. In France of the early 20th century, they would have been amongst the most gifted balladeers. However, nowadays, the crowd usually screams with joy when hearing such persistent variations of changes in time and tonality. But listen for yourselves. The four Australians fulfill their roles as storytellers with such a sublime matter-of-course-attitude that your last scream might even get stuck in your throat, if not your heart.