Feature: Album Review - Haiku Salut's Tricolore

Rob reviews Tricolore; the brand new album from instrumental three piece, Haiku Salut. 

Haiku Salut are a trio of Derbyshire instrumentalists who use accordions, pianos, guitars and laptop-looperies to create a truly unique and stunning soundscape. Once described as “Like Sigur Ros, if Sigur Ros played toy instruments and were from the North”, their debut album Tricolore (pronounced Tricolore) is to be released by London based indie label 'How Does It Feel To Be Loved'? on March 25th of this year. 

Describing Haiku Salut was once an easy task; you would simply shut your eyes and point in the general direction of an Amélie DVD, hoping no further questions would follow. Since their debut EP How we got along after the Yarn Bomb however, these bumbag-clad lasses have shed their influence riddled sleeves, revealing something much more unique, inventive and spectacular, making the job of assigning relative equivalents to their sound rather arduous.

The succinct way of describing their album would be “folktronica” although that would simplify their sound to the point of it being wrong. Instead it’s playful, joyous, ambitious and beautiful from the start, interjecting Aphex Twin style glitch, Beirut-esque wobbly folk and an ambiance reminiscent of early múm. Some have even pointed to comparative counterparts such as the Books, and Psapp in way of describing Tricolore, and to those people I would nod in moderate agreement. Tricolore is all of these things, but it’s also so much more.

Songs such as Sounds like there’s a Pacman crunching away at your heart and Lonesome George Orwell, there’s no-one like take their influence from the classical era, building on whimsical and waltz style guitar melodies to create an almost unique genre of Baroque-pop, or Baroque n’ Roll, if you’re that way inclined. Even in excess electro masterpiece Leaf Stricken, the intricate and poignant melodies ring throughout, mixing classical and glitch like it’s the most natural thing in the world, leaving you to wonder why you hadn’t heard something like this before?

Carrying on this theme is Six impossible things, a song which you may think starts fairly demure, sure, but before you know it will have you skipping down the street, grabbing passers-by exclaiming “don’t ask, just dance” as you get carried away by the increasing audible trumpet apocalypse that would surely bring down any walls around Jericho.

This theme seems fairly consistent through Tricolore, while it is anything but formulaic; it does have a tendency to build up to a somewhat exuberant end. Even in Glokelbar (personal favourite) a song with only 3 instruments, the ever increasing glockenspiel layers build gently around you without every becoming too much.

But just when you think you have gotten this album sussed, Just when you think you are comfortable, you get the Phat, haunting beat of single dropped on yo ass, crafting an epic eeriness perfectly captured in the video produced by Albion Sky Productions (which we featured here). The video depicts a devilishly handsome chap, chasing a gasmask clad lass carrying a red balloon. It’s beautifully shot and personally, I never tire of watching it. As additional insider information, I can offer you the fact that the gasmask contained asbestos.

Part of me wants to describe every song on this album as each has its story to tell, but that would ruin the surprises which lie in wait for you. Suffice to say its instrumentation ranges from Watanabe, which involves 6 hands and one piano all the way to Train Tracks, an orchestral onslaught which builds to a euphoric elation that you feel you could almost breathe in. While every song seems individually perfect, the album as a whole is both a shower and a grower, on each listen you’ll find a new reason to go back and fall in with it all over again. I myself am hitting the 60 listen mark and I'm yet to find an occassion where Tricolore isn't the perfect soundtrack to my day. The world is a better, more joyous place because of this album. 

Although there is no singing to speak of, it’s the music itself which acts as narrator, leading your smiling face through an elaborate, honest and sophisticated story with each instrument playing a lead character. You’ll easily become lost in the many twists and turns, but that’s ok, it’s a beautiful world to be lost in. 

4.99 out of 5

Haiku Salut are performing their album launch at Deda in Derby, with electronica hero Mender on the 13th April. Details to follow.

To find out more about Haiku visit their website.

Tags:  Haiku Salut Tricolore Folktronica Baroque Classical How does it feel to be loved Katie Brosnan Album Review