Back in August 2013 I saw Haiku Salut open the main stage at Green Man Festival. To this day I remember feeling a sense of euphoria as they started to play. Soon afterwards, I found myself raving about their first album, Tricolore, and growing increasingly impatient for the announcement of their next. Now, with Etch and Etch Deep due for release on July 31st 2015, I find myself just as excited to hear the bands second studio album and to discover what’s new in the universe of Haiku Salut.
Within the first few tracks it becomes clear that the band have taken a giant leap into 2015 with a more grown up take on their already unique, eclectic sound.
First single to be released from the new album is the first on the list – Bleak and Beautiful (All Things). Opening with an intake of breath and evolving into an amalgamation of orchestral instruments and electronica, it’s a bold opening choice. The listener is invited to let their mind float away as each element of the piece evolves, creating the feeling that something beautiful has begun.
By track three, I find myself picturing things only great music can make you see. I’ve been transported to another dimension where nothing seems awful and everything seems to have a soundtrack. This is quite apparent with Hearts not Parts, the album’s second single released on July 13th. It’s the first track to incorporate a focus on the ladies’ haunting harmonies, giving their sound a hint of post-2000 Bjork.
Divided By Surfaces and Silence brings us back to earth a little with more of a drum-heavy, folk tune. I thought by this point in the album, after four tracks each playing host to a different stylistic technique, that I would miss the addition of vocals. This is not the case. Through the maturing of the band’s sound, members have taken their talents as multi-instrumentalists and have utilised them fully. The music tells its own story without having to resort to explaining itself with words and choruses.
Beacauselessness lets us catch our breath after reaching the albums peak. The way each instrument is utilised to create its own character adds a sense of fantasy to the music. This may just be down to me and my imagination, but I believe wholeheartedly that anyone paying deep attention to what they are hearing throughout Etch and Etch Deep will find themselves in their own little world. I truly believe that that’s what Haiku Salut are trying to achieve. They tell a story from beginning to end with this album, incorporating new sounds mixed with old and in the process growing into a band whose talents could, at this point, quite easily tower over any other band quite like them.
It’s during final tracks Skip to the End and Foreign Pollen that I come to understand the pointlessness of comparing this album with 2013’s Tricolore. Both sit on their own pedestals, high above musicians who fear to delve too deep into a sound so unique. Now, with Tricolore taking its place in the past as a beautiful introduction, we are firmly placed into the present with Etch and Etch Deep. Haiku Salut have stumbled upon not just a beautiful take on instrumental music, but a creation that I’ve not heard the likes of before. I believe the time has come to all stand back together and watch in awe while they stand their ground as a band taking on a world of their own, and to wait with bated breath for another triumphant future.