Hiatus Kaiyote
Choose Your Weapon


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tristan Jones EMERITUS
May 4th, 2015 | 525 replies


Release Date: 05/04/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Multi-dimensional, polyrhythmic food for the soul.

Choose Your Weapon is boundless. Australian quartet Hiatus Kaiyote take its title to heart, cycling through their arsenal, unfettered by conventions. Perhaps the most exciting recent act to reinvigorate elements of soul music, they duly pay respects while striving to push it skyward, collecting many postcards along the way from God-knows-where. Vocalist/guitarist Nai Palm’s delivery is both mystical and approachable - often confusing, but easily relatable in a visceral sense. It’s this magical quality that makes Weapon difficult to justify to others on an emotional level, as what’s conveyed is often too good for clinical decoding, and its maze-like rejoicing is worth staying lost in for its seventy-minute runtime. If the comically menacing cover bodes true, one can expect playful nostalgia, a myriad of flavours, and bizarre, worldly flair.

With an album as stylistically all over the place, channeling jazz fusion, soul, R&B, and prog, one might expect an elaborate concept to match. To be fair, it is, somewhat; with song titles like “Shaolin Monk Motherfunk” and “Only All the Time: Making Friends with Studio Owl”, we aren’t expecting straightforwardness. Nai, however, has a remarkable ability to tie everything together, and the various tones and nuances she projects become a focal point, with her quirky lyrics often falling in the peripheral. “Shaolin Monk Motherfunk” sees a smooth jazz groove yield to scat singing and chunky synths. “Borderline with My Atoms” is equal parts arousal and spiritual cleansing. Single “Breathing Underwater” is a vocal highlight, as Palm utilizes rapid successions, sighs, and staccatos, taking cues from drummer Perrin “Pez” Moss (though her commanding presence suggests it could easily be the other way ‘round). If Palm could be reigned in, it would be on closer “Building a Ladder”, a more conventional number by comparison. Despite her impish charm, she consolidates Weapon: "building a ladder of love to you/and I hope that, love, you built one too." This line, while innocent enough, is Weapon's north star, asserting a direction in hindsight - a method to the madness.

Perhaps my studies have crossed the line in the sand and eked their way into my music listening, but trying to solve Weapon's puzzle is Occam’s Razor in action: the simplest theory often wins. This album is a demonstration of love. Not romantic, necessarily, but simply love, as every song is tender at its core. (The resilient, funk-laden “By Fire” is a tribute to Palm’s father, who passed away in a house fire; “Atari” is, as one might expect, a salute to vintage gaming.) Picking whatever moment resonates with you is difficult, as each song is a self-perpetuating climax. With so many highlights crammed into a sizeable dose, the album is draining. Maybe, it’s just too much of a good thing; maybe, after enjoying the album a dozen-ish times, I’m spent, and happy to consume it in snack-sized portions. Regardless, Choose Your Weapon is eclectic, joyful, musically impressive, and spiritually rich, so even a piecemeal listening experience is fulfilling. In a 2013 interview with Life + Times, Nai Palm explains, "to me, a hiatus is taking a pause in your life to take in your surroundings, have a full panoramic view of your experiences and absorbing [them]." Soak it all in, even if it drains you. The view is worth it.



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user ratings (263)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
AsimovsGhost (3.5)
Choose Your Weapon is a delightfully inventive electro/R&B infusion that slightly suffers from bloat...


Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
May 3rd 2015


6695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

stream "Shaolin Monk Motherfunk" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya7aDtEdTTo

"Breathing Underwater" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZVMViSx6Ek

get album here: http://www.amazon.com/Choose-Your-Weapon-Hiatus-Kaiyote/dp/B00U36POPC?tag=smarturl-20

or here: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/choose-your-weapon/id972218237?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

life + times interview: http://lifeandtimes.com/hiatus-kaiyote-talks-growing-global-buzz

(more relevant) revive-music interview: http://revive-music.com/2015/04/27/interview-nai-palm-discusses-choose-your-weapon/



TheCrocodile
May 3rd 2015


2925 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Best artwork this year by a distance.

Let
May 3rd 2015


1608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet write up, album is the tits though a bit too long

Lord(e)Po)))ts
May 3rd 2015


43132 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

aaayyyyeeee

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2015


16125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i KNEW i shouldn't have started a write up for this album as soon as I saw ur rating lol

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
May 3rd 2015


6695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol yeah i wasn't gonna let this one slip me by, and thx for the kind words y'all

manosg
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2015


11670 Comments


Great review man. "Shaolin Monk Motherfunk" is a cool song although not my style.

Digging: Arch/Matheos - Winter Ethereal

Cygnatti
May 4th 2015


32791 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wowwee zowee!

Phlegm
May 4th 2015


7248 Comments


aaaye this one's been on the radar

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
May 4th 2015


16125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the bridge in Atari is sooo good omg.....

metalheadrunner
May 4th 2015


343 Comments


Good review, bro. Ghost pos!

Thuglifethor
May 4th 2015


150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

such a good album. surprised Hiatus Kaiyote hadn't hit my ears earlier

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2015


2905 Comments


"Perhaps my studies have crossed the line in the sand and eked their way into my music listening, but trying to solve Weapon’s puzzle is Occam’s Razor in action: the simplest theory often wins."

Not doing much to dispel the theory that every staff/contrib here is a philosophy undergrad.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
May 4th 2015


6695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nah I'm in physics, took a phil of science course for an easy credit ;]

hortanz
May 4th 2015


800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice, I didn't know they were releasing a new album. can't wait to listen to this



the By Fire EP was pretty damn good too - Laputa is dope



edit: turns out all songs from that EP are on this album. and album is on spotify!

RadicalEd
May 4th 2015


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Shaolin Monk Motherfunk dayum.

JasonCarne
May 4th 2015


1048 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I bet this rules, listening soon.

FadedSun
May 4th 2015


1943 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I saw this under recommendations on Spotify and checked it based solely on the album art. Album is damn good, especially that last track featuring Q-Tip.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
May 4th 2015


6695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

different album

CaptainDooRight
May 4th 2015


3565 Comments


this is random sauce

Digging: Lord Belial - Revelation - The 7th Seal



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