Item added to your cart.


Mood Valiant continues a fine run of form for Brainfeeder’s in-house soul unit, their tunes shining with irrepressible unity and a palpable cheer which feels all the more acute after the Melbourne unit pushed through several challenging years.

Since 2015’s sophomore album “Choose Your Weapon”, Hiatus Kaiyote have been through hell and back. Their track record of fine releases and festival presence ground to a sudden halt. Given the Melbourne-born four piece’s predilection for spinning sultry golden-hour moods out of soul, R&B, jazz-funk and beatwise noodling, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if “Mood Valiant” never got made at all.

2018 saw the band reach a new level of cultural cachet, as unmistakable lead singer Nai Palm (Naomi Saalfield) released a solo LP and featured as a guest vocalist on Drake’s globe-dominating “Scorpion”. Then came the fall.

Saalfield, who lost her mother to breast cancer as a child, was diagnosed with the same condition. She went into remission the next year, but not before her pet and Hiatus Kaiyote’s unofficial touring fifth member, a parrot named after 20th century jazz great Charlie Parker, died. Hopes for a restful start to the 2020s were dashed as Australia lost its early handle on pandemic management, and went into a series of convulsing lockdowns it has not yet fully come out of.

So — how have the band come up with the best album of their career to date; released, presumably with no small irony, at the height of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer season? “Mood Valiant”’s clue is in the name: by drawing upon her mother’s decision to switch between a black and white career depending on her mood that day, Saalfield inverts the band’s streak of rough luck. The resultant music is a tribute to resistance in the face of crushing adversity.

Enlisting Brazil’s bossa nova cult hero Arthur Verocai to apply some classy orchestration and positive affirmations on lead single ‘Sun’ is a good way to go about signalling your creative and spiritual rebirth. Signing on with Brainfeeder isn’t a bad move, either — not least that Flying Lotus went through his own near-death experience only a few years ago. But the storm clouds are kept at bay. For most of the dozen songs here, Hiatus Kaiyote paints in brushstrokes of Rhodes piano, warm instrumentation, and steady percussion which has the capacity to explode at a moment’s notice.

This comes to pass: “Mood Valiant” pootles along with urbane fluidity until we get to the mid-album showstopper, ‘All The Words We Don’t Say’. The song’s immediacy, courtesy of a knotty bassline and nonlinear beats, mark this as an outlier, but it explodes forth with Nai Palm singing-scatting about tilling the land and being absorbed by someone else’s eyes. Put that side-by-side with her recording Curtis Mayfield covers from a hospital bed, and it’s not hard to see where the joy stems from.

“Mood Valiant” shines with irrepressible unity and a palpable cheer which feels all the more acute after the turmoil to even get to this point. As Saalfield told Pitchfork earlier this year, “after [the scare] I decided that I needed to prove to life that the offering I have is genuine. My only wish is to live and offer my experience of time and beauty.” Mission accomplished.

Bleep Album of the Year Exclusive

Made especially for you, Brainfeeder have created an exclusive edition

Signed print

  • 153156

Albums of the Year 2021

View More
--:-- --:--

Privacy Settings

This site uses cookies. For information, please read our cookies policy. Cookies Policy

Allow All
Manage Consent Preferences