Derbyshire’s all-female trio Haiku Salut has one of the happiest sounds around, one that doesn’t ignore current events but transcends them. For this band, life is about moving past enmity and discord toward harmony and acceptance. The music conveys this message through instrumentation; for more details, one must turn to the liner notes. As Sophie Barkerwood writes, this album is about “being proud of what you believe in and who you are … making small life changes (and) better decisions, celebrating others (and) making changes for a better future.” We’re huge supporters of this philosophy.
To listen is to be uplifted. Lead single “Cold to Crack the Stones” contains the ebullient sound of the Glastonbury Brass, while “Occupy” are “The More and Moreness” are a head-bobbing electronic dance pieces. Three albums in, it’s fair to call the trio consistent. Those drawn to Haiku Salut’s signature bells and chimes will love the appropriately-named “For Twinklr,” which sounds like social media for the night stars. Those stars appear during the daylight hours in the unusual cover, which coupled with the title seems to imply that there are no fantasy portals to peaceful lands ~ we are meant to build and rebuild wherever we live.
The album highlight appears in the nine spot ~ an uncommon place for a key track, especially one that has not appeared as a single. There Is No Elsewhere builds to this piece with an ever-increasing array of tones, hinting in the final 54 seconds of “Choke Point” and the cheerful “Nettles” that something larger is coming. At 7:10, “I Am Who I Remind You Of” is the album’s longest track, reminiscent of the trio’s 2015 team-up with Jilk. Sighing vocals are laid across a soft bed of music boxes and percussion, the accordion laying a bridge to the mid-piece shift. When three minutes remain, an additional layer of bells comes across as a lullaby, implying that everything will be alright. When two minutes remain, the drums enter, providing strength and encouragement. When one minute remains, all percussion ceases. The melodies drift on a decorated boat to the opposite shore. “Shadows” provides a quiet coda, like a welcome home. There is no elsewhere, but here is just fine. (Richard Allen)