A measured, nuanced depiction of melancholic beauty...
'There Is No Elsewhere'

In nature, Autumn is a time of death but also rebirth. It’s a time of reflection of the self, and a time of focus. The hustle and bustle of the warmer months is dying down, allowing for more time to focus on change; change of anything that is keeping you stuck in the uncomfort of now. Of course, change is important. It keeps us alive and present; it’s the only constant you can rely on.

With that in mind, ‘There Is No Elsewhere’ is both timely and timeless: there’s a particular kind of melancholy - repressed, but ever-present – that runs throughout the album. It’s similar to Yann Tiersen’s assimilation of the myriad nuances of human emotion, for example. It’s defiantly optimistic, too, and celebrates the notion of change - i.e. making better decisions, having better conversations, and making changes for a better future.

It’s also an album that denotes self-acceptance and the ability to feel comfortable in your own skin. It’s about finding out who you are and not being dictated to about what you should be. The thematic framework of ‘There Is No Elsewhere’, then, makes for a cathartic experience. It’s a very warm, human record, which tugs at the heartstrings while simultaneously making you think. It’s a record for quiet contemplation – sleepless nights spent pondering one’s own existence - but it’s also a celebration of the self.

The juxtaposition between hope and dejection is elicited wonderfully on the sleepy, dream-like ‘Bow Wood’ and ‘Choke Points’ – two tracks that understand the importance of melody as an aid for heightening emotion. Elsewhere, vocals occasionally slide into focus, threatening to break into song on the spectral ‘I am Who I Remind You Of’.

Haiku Salut’s previous two albums - while beautifully wrought and equally contemplative – often sounded cluttered and scatter-shot. Here, they’ve realised a vision that’s far more measured. There are so many layers to get lost in, too.

The beauty of instrumental music is that, when executed properly, it has the ability to form the deepest narratives – and paint the most detailed pictures - without words ever being a requisite. Haiku Salut use instruments as a tool to tell stories, and the band’s emotional gravitas is symptomatic of how this type of music can triumph against all the odds.

8/10

Words: Hayley Scott

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