Hiatus Kaiyote are an Australian “future soul” collective whose Live in Revolt EP is available to watch now.
Taken from their début album Tawk Tomohawk, this EP demonstrates shades of the blue-note funk of Floetry and the retro grit of Van Hunt. Opener Kakkamura shows off the group’s effortlessly creamy chops; singer and guitarist Nai flips some pitch-perfect vocal acrobatics without breaking a sweat. There’s a brief astral funk interlude, Sphinx Gate, (think 70s fusion stalwarts like Caldera or George Benson) before they break out into the broken jazz of The World Softly Lulls. There are ostensibly three songs here but the band demonstrates an absolute mastery of nine or ten separate grooves.
This is the kind of music which is very easy to get wrong; it demands consumate musicianship to avoid sounding amateurish – and restraint to avoid heading off into noodly wankery. On the strength of this release Hiatus Kaiyote have found the perfect balance. They strongly recall the nu-soul of the early 2000s, and listening to them in 2013 makes me wistful for those days, a time when D’Angelo and Angie Stone dominated the charts. They’ve already received celebrity backing from Prince, Questlove and Erykah Badu, and it’s not hard to see why – there’s a level of polish, commitment and respect for heritage here which we rarely see in any of the identikit robo-R&B gigastars clogging up today’s charts. Whether you’re looking for virtuoso musical skill or just a few beautiful songs, don’t ignore this EP.
Tawk Tomohawk is out now on Flying Buddha.