Like their English counterparts Maybeshewill, Derbyshire trio Haiku Salut are particularly effective at playing a variation of post-rock that knows its limits. Only one track on their debut LP, Tricolore, slips past the five minute mark, and as a whole, the album never feels overstuffed. What’s remarkable about that balance is how lushly orchestrated this all is; while the cinematic quality of Tricolore is textbook post-rock, it’s not beholden to rise-and-fall song structures or drifting passages. The trio, who describe themselves as a “Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other” outfit, cobble together an overall tone that’s one part Sigur Rós circa Takk…, a dash of contemporary classical piano (see the lovely, Clint Mansell-esque “Los Elefantes”), and a charming sense of Wes Anderson whimsy. It’s post-rock for those who aren’t keen on sitting through Young Team or Ágætis byrjun for the umpteenth time, and especially for those who prefer electronic flourishes to deafening crescendos.
The purest picture of Haiku Salut’s MO comes early on, in the form of the adorkably titled “Sounds Like there’s a Pac-Man Crunching Away at Your Heart”. Beginning with tranquil acoustic guitar backed by some piano tinkering, the song builds to a powerful climax driven by ’80s video game synthesizers, which then give way to a wistful piano outro. If this sounds like the type of music you would expect to be on Zooey Deschanel’s run mix, you wouldn’t be far off. Plenty on this LP is a bit precocious for its own good. But a strong sense of nuance and sensibility of composition is very much alive in this trio, and this record captures a truly creative — and still young — group that’s bound to go places from here. The world of Tricolore is a delightful one, and like any good album of its kind, it captures a diverse, multi-colored musical journey.