With their dizzying blend of sugar-soaked pop and pulsating dance music, Haiku Hands have become an absolute must-see live band. Dripping in attitude and demanding attention across the globe (they’ve stolen the show at England’s The Great Escape, Texas’ SXSW and Splendour In The Grass), the three-piece have become masters at starting the party whatever their surroundings.
Since they released the glitching rave tune ‘Not About You’ in 2017, the trio have left a trail of unforgettable performances in their wake and despite 2020 being extremely anti-party, Haiku Hands’ self-titled debut is an unapologetic blast of gleeful rebellion that’s determined to keep the good times rolling.
Quick to dial up the volume, ‘Haiku Hands’ was written to soundtrack those high-octane live shows. The gang are at their best in the one-two curtain drop of ‘Not About You’ and ‘Manbitch’, with huge singalong moments stood atop energetic club anthems. It’s also dance music with something to say: the album opener is all about self-empowerment while on ‘Manbitch’ the group reclaim the gendered slur.
Elsewhere the wonky-pop of ‘Jupiter’ takes influence from the paradise escape of Tame Impala while ‘Eat This Bass’ is a glowstick-waving industrial pop banger that pulls from Grimes’ ‘Art Angels’. ‘Haiku Hands’ is an aggressively energetic record, and you can already picture the euphoric carnage that these songs will inspire when Haiku Hands are allowed back on stage.
Refusing to draw the line at simply meeting other people’s expectations though, ‘Haiku Hands’ is proof there’s more to this band than fist-pumping hedonism. ‘Sunride’ is a beautiful ode to friendship that basks in the warm glow of togetherness, (“We all go a little crazy, sometimes you know me better than I know myself,” the trio sing), while the emo kick of ‘Car Crash’ is a warts-and-all anthem of acceptance.
Lines like “You’re such a beautiful car crash baby, I just can’t turn away. It’s an honour to know you,” tug on the heartstrings, especially when backed by the brooding minimalism that echoes The xx’s ‘Islands’ – but the celebratory rallying cry of “You’re fucking awesome” is enough to make anyone feel like they belong.
The twisted percussive rap of ‘Mechanical Animal’ takes things even further from the glitterball dance that Haiku Hands are known for but it’s just as enthralling. The same goes for ‘I See You Baby’, which wraps a ’90s pop banger around guttural screams to create something cathartic and full of swagger. The escapist close of ‘Morning Becomes’ is a world away from the dance-heavy urgency that opened the record, but it still bristles with an excitable energy that’s impossible to ignore. The tempo might change, but Haiku Hands never stop moving.
Fearless in their desire to break out of any pigeonholes but smart enough to play to their strengths, Haiku Hands’ self-titled debut does good on all that live promise and takes on new challenges as the trio adapt to the world around them. Right now, Haiku Hands might not be able to play the chaotic live shows that gave them an international reputation, but their self-titled debut is a much-needed burst of euphoric joy that’ll make you feel like you can take on the world. We all need a bit of that right now.
- Release date: September 10
- Record label: Spinning Top Records (AU/NZ) + Mad Decent