Haiku Hands have returned unapologetically loud and proud this winter, as they release their long-awaited sophomore album, ‘Pleasure Beast’. With driving beats, affected vocal hooks, and atmospheric synths, the album immerses listeners through a pulsating sonic journey reminiscent of summer festival days.
Based across Melbourne and Sydney, Beatrice Lewis, Claire Nakazawa and Mie Nakazawa create and perform music that forces the listener into a state of rebellion with the bold energy of pop contemporaries like Charli XCX and Dream Wife, coupled with a nostalgic hint of the 80s. Their album screams rebellion, both sonically and lyrically; blending elements of hip-hop, pop, and electronic music with repeated loud mantras to create an album manifestation of a dopamine rush.
The trio describes Pleasure Beast as encapsulating the chronological progression of a night out, but the record maintains the energy and vigour of a party at its peak; electronic beats and affected vocals dominate from the early tracks ‘All Around the World’ and ‘Cool For You’. The more melodic tracks like ‘Paradise’, ‘Elastic Love’, and ‘Feel So Good’ are moments of relief you can sing along to, suitable for a reflective solo listen. This doesn’t last for long though, as you’re quickly thrown back into the fire with the power and momentum of ’To the Left’ and ‘Ma Ruler’, showing Haiku Hands’ main focus of maintaining the pace.
The production is anything but subtle, with layers of synths, beats, and vocal samples to keep the listener wholly in the zone. While at times the relentless intensity of beats feels like musical whiplash, it is clear the band excels at curating a vibe. Intermediary tracks like ‘Pleasure’ and ‘We’re Gonna Be the Greatest’ add nothing musically, but work as a larger picture to convince the listener to join the record in breaking the rules and not caring what people think.
The album balances on a tightrope of both artificial and authentic. The pounding bass, heavy synths, and repeated hyperactive samples charge with electronic force, but the humorous phrases and vocal energy ground the tracks with a genuine vigour for life. It’s a kind of rawness that speaks without judgment or fear, providing a wholly mesmerising escape from the shackles of self-consciousness, capitalism, and the mundane. Whether it’s at full blast in your car, or with your friends at a festival, one thing is certain: it’s not an album for the faint-hearted.
‘Pleasure Beast’ is out December 1st via Spinning Top Records.