Etch and Etch Deep by Haiku Salut (2015)

Haiku Salut (“Haikoo Saloo”) are an instrumental trio from Derbyshire, England who were formed in 2010 by university friends and multi-instrumentalists Gemma and Sophie Bakerwood and Louise Croft. Their clever mix of baroque pop, folk and electronica (or “Baroque-pop-folktronic-neo-classical-something-or-other” as the jokingly refer to it), uses a wide array of instruments that includes accordion, classical guitar, ukulele, melodica, trumpet, glockenspiel, a slightly battered looking old keyboard, drums, synth pads and other forms of “loopery and laptopery.”

Etch and Etch Deep is their second full length album, coming two years after their full debut Tricolore. Their wonderful 2013 debut was met with an assortment of positive reviews – although the LP didn’t receive as much attention as it perhaps deserved. The debut was driven by the use of live instrumentation which gave it an old world kind of feel, with electronic elements playing a more accompanying role overall. It was a fantastically arranged album which was bright, diverse and full of warmth. For the bands 2015 sophomore release Etch and Etch Deep those electronic elements come to the fore and play a more prominent role.

The albums opening track “Bleak and Beautiful (All Things)” conforms to this new electronica direction with warm and melodic synths at its backbone. The track also cleverly combines a wonderful accordion and piano combo – ending in an instrument-filled carousel-like climax. It’s beautifully mesmerising and has a charm and eccentricity to it rarely found in 21st century music.

Hearts Not Parts” features a rare use of vocals that aren’t too dissimilar from Joanna Barwick’s ghostly harmonies. It has a haunting quality that again features slight elements of electronica to add a unique layer to it. Nothing is ever over done or, more importantly, over produced. Everything has a place.

The album highlight “Things Were Happening and They Were Strange” further elevates this album into the giddying heights of genius. Looped guitars and ukuleles are joined by synth, tribal-like drums and slightly unsettling vocals, before a chiptune-like synth, accordion and looped guitars/ukuleles return for a dark and intense ending. This is quite stunning songwriting and one has to wonder if the band haven’t only created a masterpiece but also a genre that is their own.

Etch and Etch Deep is a more experimental, complex and brooding album, but still manages to retain the warmth and colour that made Tricolore such a wonderful listen. It may not be as instantly loveable as their previous album, but with a sound that’s fuller, and with an unintentional playfulness, it continues to reveal itself with each listen. Its more cohesive and introspective feel allows you to become immersed inside it in a way that their previous material didn’t.

You can also find a copy of this review at GIGsoup.

Top Tracks: Bleak and Beautiful (All Things);  Hearts Not Parts;  Things Were Happening and They Were Strange;  The No Colour of Rain or Dust

Genre: Baroque Pop, Folk, Electronica, or “Baroque-pop-folktronic-neo-classical-something-or-other”

Length: 37:58

Released: 31 July 2015

Label: How Does It Feel To Be Loved?

Rating: 8/10

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