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Posted on June 5th, 2013 (11:59 am) by Matt Essert

Tricolore is an interesting record. Released in late March on the How Does it Feel to be Loved label, Tricolore is the first full length release from the Derbyshire-based trio of Louise, Sophie and Gemma, a group of musicians collectively known as Haiku Salut who use “accordions, ukeleles, glockenspiels, pianos, loopery and laptopery” to produce “Baroque-pop-folktronic-neo-classical-something-or-other” music, which is all just a fancy way of saying “a few musicians who mash together a lot of different instruments to make subdued instrumental music.” But all this, while informative, doesn’t say much about what makes this album interesting. What makes Tricolore an interesting record, in my opinion, is that depending on how you listen to it, this can either sounds like carefully pieced together collection of songs, each precisely made to express an individual idea or emotion, or a haphazardly thrown together grab bag of demos made by someone having a bit too much fun with Garageband. But both unfortunately and luckily (respectively), the majority of Haiku Salut’s debut LP falls somewhere in between.

In this way, and several others, Tricolore is an album of battling opposites. There’s the aforementioned feeling of precise thought and lawless garbling, as well as a comparison to be made between Haiku Salut’s use of crazy looped electronics on the one hand and simple acoustic or woodwind instruments on the other. Though some songs, like the tremendously beautiful “Watanabe,” stick mainly with real instrumentation, others, like borderline personality disorder-stricken “Leaf Stricken,” mix the two. Sometimes this works out quite well and Haiku Salut finds themselves with a moment of music that feels very innovative and exploratory, yet still grounded in basic notions of musical simplicity. Similarly, the album’s real opener (if you disregard the 30 second “Say It,” which you definitely can) “Sounds Like There's A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart” goes in and out of electro-noise rock and acoustic soft rock with intermittent moments of both success and failure. The album’s closer “No, You Say It” is also very electro heavy, in fact electro-heavy enough that you almost wouldn’t be surprised to hear it at your next rave—it’s a seriously excited song that works as a solid closer to an album with plenty of ebb and flow.

Along with this instrumentation dichotomy, there’s also something to be said for what feels like somewhat of a directional shift between the A-side and B-side of the album. Separated by the somewhat helpful delineator “Haiku Interlude #1,” Tricolore’s A-side is much more childish, skittish, and playful than the B-side, which generally sounds a bit more focused, formal, and grown-up—almost as though the two halves of the album could serve as soundtracks for two very differently themed movies. It’s not as though the album necessarily feels disjointed of that the first few songs are childish. Rather, there is a tempered focus found in songs like “Rustic Sense Of Migration” and “Train Tracks For Wheezy” that point to the development of a band that isn’t just fooling around with a computer, but is actually thinking carefully about the music they’re making.

These separations aren’t too surprising for a group’s first full-length release, and it’s reasonable enough to give them time to figure out what they want to do. Of course, a band this talented shouldn’t limit their ideas or creative potential for fear of making too big of a misstep, especially this early on in their career. But if Haiku Salut were able to take all their musical energies and focus them in one direction, rather than two or three, their ceiling is high.

Track List:
1. Say It
2. Sounds Like There's A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart
3. Leaf Stricken
4. Los Elefantes
5. ||: Lonesome George (Or Well, There’s No-One Like) :||
6. Watanabe
7. Haiku Interlude #1
8. Six Impossible Things
9. Rustic Sense Of Migration
10. Glockelbar
11. Train Tracks For Wheezy
12. No, You Say It

Haiku Salut, Tricolore, Louise, Sophie, Gemma, Derbyshire, experimental, classic
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

66 / 100
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