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Hiatus Kaiyote Is Back With A Grand Howl (and Crooning Bats) on The Checkout

Hiatus Kaiyote
Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore
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Haitus Kaiyote

As the world opens up, Hiatus Kaiyote continues to patiently wait for their album release party. It’s been a brutal few years for the genre-agnostic band from the still-shut-down Melbourne, Australia. Guitarist and lead vocalist Nai Palm, didn't even think she would be alive for release of the band's third album, Mood Valiant.

As reported in NME, Hiatus Kaiyote doesn't like to speak about her medical condition, a cancer battle that started well before the pandemic, in 2019. So we made the decision not to go there in this episode of The Checkout, focusing only on the music. The album features an intoxicating mix of original compositions which includes Colombian gaita flutes, singing bats, and the howl of a lone dog owned by the band's drummer.

Hiatus Kaiyote should be celebrated as one of the great bands working today, a modern day equivalent to Steely Dan. We don't know exactly where their music fits, and don't particularly care. Somehow, this band has solved the riddle of being a favorite among hip-hop enthusiasts, R&B heads and jazz aficionados alike.

Maybe one reason for this is they are fundamentally a democratic unit. But each musician, as we explore in this episode, wields their own superpower. As a whole, they far exceed the sum of their parts — though Nai Palm's abundant charisma and talent often take center stage.

Hiatus Kaiyote - 'Get Sun (feat. Arthur Verocai)' [Official Video]

This is part of the reason we asked to speak with bassist Paul Bender and keyboardist Simon Mavin this time around. Perrin Moss is the other formidable force, on drums, percussion, and effects. Between the foursome, they share equal weight, from songwriting to behind-the-scenes grunt work. From the beginning, these musicians made a pact that everyone would share credit and responsibility.

So given all that this exceptional band has been through since their last checkmate recording, Choose Your Weapon, in 2015, it makes listening to Mood Valiant even sweeter — and it lives up to the anticipation.