This article was first published on 21 March 2013 on Louder Than War.

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Haiku Salut – Tricolore (How Does It Feel To Be Loved)
CD / LP / DL
Released 25 March 2013

9/10

It gave us flashbacks to too many hours playing Rainbow Islands (in a really good way) but with this album of luscious yet gentle electro indiepop Haiku Salut have one of the most intriguing albums of the year so far.

When it gets to this time of year it feels as if winter has been going on forever. Sunlight and greenery seem vague to the memory as if you only might have once read about them in a dusty book. It takes real effort to believe there will be an end to shimmering frosts or gloom that keeps whole days in twilight.

But, I hear, the change of season is coming and the truth in that was easier to believe when soundtracked by Tricolore; a refreshing burst of gamboling melodic spring.

There is a real mix here of sounds which are luscious and warm with the colder synthetics of electronica. The band describe their sound as “Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other” and that’s pretty much as near to pinning this down as you can get.

It’s a bit of this, a bit of that and then a pinch of something unexpected. But it’s a mix in the right ratio. A walk through pixelated trees, into a deep musical imaginations.

Il Lonesome George (Or Well, There’s No-one Like) is a sea shanty swell and fall of accordion which gradually builds to let in other sounds and tempos. There are pauses and at least one flourish which triggers an instant flashback to New Zealand Story on the Amiga 500.

The sounds of lo-fi early gaming creep in and around a lot of the album; here its the flourish of the Kiwi, elsewhere it’s the redundant back and forth of Pong, further still it is the tinny discordant notes juxtaposed with something more polished. It gives a familiar yet retro feel to an album which overall looks forward rather than back.

Lead single Los Elefantes begins as a carefully picked path through jutting piano notes as a woebegone tide of accordion washes ever closer. The quickening pace of the percussion breaking every now and then to sweeping electronica gives a sinister yet urgent undertow. It’s cinematic in it’s scope and yet almost claustrophobic by its climax.

 

 

 

Sounds Like There’s A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart has enough indie folk finger picking to form a safety net as the bleeps and bloops ascend into a whirring woozy haze of chords and brass. Once again it piles on the layers of instruments but never feels crowded, there is still a sense of each sound having enough breathing space amongst the others.

The album closes with Watanabe – live all three of the band have been known to play this on a single piano. It’s a flighty yet resonant ending full of hope and the faint warmth of a season changing.

This is an accomplished debut from a band very definitely making music their own way. Imaginative, playful and yet fully realised this is a fascinating and fun introduction to the world of Haiku Salut.

All words by Sarah Lay.