Hiatus Kaiyote Album Art

Hiatus Kaiyote – Love Heart Cheat Code (Ninja Tune/Brainfeeder)

Melbourne based act Hiatus Kaiyote are renowned for their unique sound, an impossible to emulate concoction of soul, funk, jazz and R&B elements.  It’s a blend that has drawn attention from some of the big guns of the music world, including rivals Kendrick Lamar and Drake, who, through sampling the band’s tracks, have helped in bringing them a dedicated fanbase.  Their previous album, Mood Valiant, dominated year end best of lists in 2021, proving to be a valiant return indeed return for the group, who were forced into an unanticipated six year hiatus following front woman Naomi “Nai Palm” Saalfield’s breast cancer diagnosis.

Nai returns to the hot seat for the band’s fourth full length release, with her broad vocals and sick licks in tow.  Rounding out the now well established line-up is Paul Bender on bass, Simon Mavin on keys, and Perrin Moss on drums.  Joining them in the production chair is Mario Caldato, who has worked with such legends as the Beastie Boys and Seu Jorge.

Love Heart Cheat Code puts forward a less structured sound than its predecessor, exaggerating the sense of controlled chaos that fans of the band have come to love.  Quirkiness case in point: the unhinged promotional content for the album featuring the band’s antics as employees of the fictitious supermarket chain “LHCC Mart”.

Opening the storybook with introductory chapter ‘Dreamboat’, sparkling piano and mystical harp introduce the fairytale thematics that run throughout much of the album.  Jittery jam‘Telescope’  is undoubtably the standout of the previously released tracks, while the more laidback second single, ‘Make Friends’, presents a soulful celebration of the beauty of platonic love.  Referring to the song’s verse, which is repeated three times using three different sets of pronouns, Nai recalls: “When I sang the third verse, the ‘them/they’ verse, I actually had to stop.  Just realising that inclusivity is so often denied to some of the people that I love the most, my best besties.”

A left field feature from cartoon character BMO of the beloved series Adventure Time provides an eclectic entrance into optimist anthem ‘Everything’s Beautiful’, encouraging us to stop and smell the roses. Spellbinding ‘Dmitri’ drops a drum machine beat amongst words of witchcraft, before feline inspired intermission ‘Longcat’ leads into ‘How To Meet Yourself’, its pared back piano whisking us away to a chilled out Jazz Hall.

Title track ‘Love Heart Cheat Code’, “doesn’t mean anything and it means everything.” Nai says. “On one hand, it’s just cool words together.  But also… I really believe if you move through the world with love, it’s the ultimate cheat code to the world.”  Then, in a sudden shift, ‘Cinnamon Temple’ brings to mind several seven inches smashed together, all running at different speeds.  Throwing down wild guitar and warbling, it’s pure, unadulterated mayhem.  It’s also one of the band’s most anticipated tracks, having been a long term live favourite.

Wrapping up with a wild reimagining of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ , the band succeed in making the iconic track their own, with searing synths and African inspired drums cut through with Nai’s incredible vocals.

In serving up a feast for the senses, Hiatus Kaiyote have raised the already high bar they had set for themselves yet again, plating up a platter of sheer talent.

Love Heart Cheat Code is out 28th June via Ninja Tune/Brainfeeder.


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