Debut solo album from Hiatus Kayote's lead singer and composer, Nai Palm. Needle Paw take a much more stripped back approach than anything she's done with her band, and so allows her voice to emerge all raw and powerful. Features new versions of Hiatus Kayote songs, as well as covers of Radiohead, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix.
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Hiatus Kaiyote’s brilliant leader, Nai Palm, delivers her debut record as something of an anthology. Acoustic tunes from her band’s oeuvre make an appearance, as do tributes to certain fellas of the canon, including Jimi Hendrix and the maybe-suing-you Radiohead. She describes ‘Needle Paw’ as “a very personal leap into the deep end”, and she’s right: she’s asking you to visit her past and her passions alongside her.
Her voice initially sails solo on “Atari”, humming over the top of a slapped and strummed electric guitar that sits alone in space -- before gorgeous vocal harmonies raise the song into the heavens. The record immediately reaches its high point, though, with a startling original: the duel-wielding tune “Crossfire / So Into You” is a stay-at-home R&B tune that feels instant classic in its performance -- the guitar flits across the room as Nai Palm runs through all possible restrains and dramas in her voice, backed by an incredible roster of dynamically bubbling-up voices.
For a record of personal excursions, this record still feels full-bodied and marvelously fleshed out: it’s the way the vocals carry it, as if Nai Palm has her own Greek choir steering her songs in this or that direction. “Haiku” is another perfect juxtaposition of intimate and ubiquitous, while her three part medley of David Bowie’s “Blackstar”, Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song”, and Emeli Sandé’s “Breathing Underwater”, take the songs and re-contextualise them, pere-phrashing them for Nai Palm’s own improvised extensions. It’s a stunning, longform exploration of what Nai Palm can do when she simplifies her basis for song craft: a guitar and a chorus of voices, keeping a flame burning for as long as they like.
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