The three women of Haiku Salut (one for each color of Tricolore) admit a love for the music of Detekivbyran and múm and the writings of Haruki Murakami, and their debut album does justice to all three. Accordion, trumpet and glockenspiel feature strongly, as does a childlike sensibility. One imagines the trio would not only love to hang out on a playground, but that after riding the slide they might hit it, rub it, and tap the stairs with sticks; and that none of them ever used a swing in the “proper” way. If anyone told them that a piano was not for percussion, the lesson didn’t sink in. The same can be said of other lessons: don’t write 33-second songs, don’t stop suddenly, don’t shift gears. Fortunately other lessons did sink in: have fun. Be creative. Have fun. Instruments are everywhere.
Those who discovered the trio via last year’s split with Hopeless Local Marching Band may have also tracked down their debut EP, How We Got Along After the Yarn Bomb. The album was recorded in the middle of the other two releases and as such will appeal to fans of each. The abandon of the earlier work is present here, as well as the maturity of composition found on the latter, as the influence of Yann Tiersen is heard rising to the surface. (Thanks to its combination of strings and a waltz tempo, “Train Tracks for Wheezy” sounds particularly like a soundtrack work.) If there’s any small criticism to be made, it’s that the performers gleefully name and flaunt their influences when they are capable of being influences. We suspect the shift will come with time.
Choosing favorites is as difficult as choosing between kettle corn and cotton candy; one suspects that one may be better than the other, but one would prefer to have both. “Sounds Like There’s a Pacman Crunching Away at Your Heart” is already a winner by virtue of title alone, but it fulfills its promise by progressing from an acoustic Zeppelin intro to a light Atari bleepfest to a Hjaltalin conclusion. The more traditional “Rustic Sense of Migration” introduces a fine interplay of piano, glockenspiel, bass and snare; and single “Los Elefantes” offers the album’s best use of beat-driven electronics. Haiku Salut may be “mum” on stage, but from this point on, others will spread the word. (Richard Allen)