Haiku Hands self-titled debut released in 2020; not exactly ideal for a band that had made a name for themselves as an epic live act, complete with kitsch costumes and killer choreography. But after accompanying many a one-man rave throughout the pandemic, the Australian alt-pop collective, consisting of sisters Claire and Mie Nakazawa along with Beatrice Lewis, are back with their second release, Pleasure Beast.
Initially conceived on a writing trip to Indonesia, the trio worked on the album during their run of US shows earlier this year with a variety of esteemed producers, and also included Lewis’ first credit in the role. The result is a hugely varied piece of work, but one that knows it’s purpose: to get the crowd moving.
Anyone who’s ever spent a night out on the town knows there are a range of emotions that slither in and out of your typical club-goer’s slowly fading consciousness as the night meanders on, and Pleasure Beast perfectly encapsulates those feelings. From peak party fuel to more chilled out tracks that are indicative of that inevitable lull in the evening, the album serves up a bag of bops that work just as well at home as in the club.
After opening with the bizarre introductory track ‘Pleasure’, the party kicks off with the kinetic chaos of ‘All Around The World’. Samples of oriental strings and pipes are reworked around a wild hip hop beat, while the lyrics lament the sorry state of our society: “All around the world there’s bombs going off/All around the world we’re still getting off”.
The album’s sense of artful attitude peaks early with ‘Cool For You’, with snarled singing of self love layered on top of an echoing effect, before a spoken word interlude leads into the poolside vibes of ‘Paradise’, a laidback track for those hazy summer days.
The variety in the vocals on Pleasure Beast is immense, from whispered words to radical rap, including a guest verse from Jamaica Moana on the dark, disco inspired track ‘To the Left’.
Some of the album’s best moments are those that verge on the bizarre, whether that’s the deep distorted voices in ‘I Am Nothing’, or the cheerful chanting of ‘Ma Ruler’, an otherworldly ode to a Femme Fatale.
The fun wraps up with anthemic album closer ‘Nunchucka’, a booming beast of a track designed for that one last dance before you drunkenly stumble home.
Pleasure Beast is a down to earth dance record at heart, but by pulling from a plethora of influences ranging from electro to disco, hip hop to synth pop, this fabulous album will keep you moving long after your first listen.
Pleasure Beast is out now via Spinning Top Records.
Haiku Hands – Pleasure Beast (Spinning Top Records)