Nai Palm: Needlepaw

- Nai Palm, (better known as the lead singer from Australian band Hiatus Kaiyote), has come forth with her debut solo album Needlepaw, a collection of tracks that are a sonically rich experience, delivered with guitar and voice.

The album is performed mostly solo with just a guitar and vocals, however, upon first listen, this is not something that immediately comes to mind: each song is a wall of intricate harmonies that punch you in the face over and over again (but it's glorious, really, cranial trauma in just the nicest way possible). The concept of the solo guitar/vocal album is an old one, but Nai Palm has taken it, flipped it on its head and this has paid off in terms of a flawless delivery.

Homebody is a melancholy and tender song, which really suits the vibe of this record: this is one of the few tracks with fewer harmonies and it really showcases the tenderness in Nai Palm's voice, compared to her more upbeat tracks where she usually takes on a sultry vibe. Have You Ever Been (To Electric Lady Land) is almost gospel in its delivery, which fits its themes. Haiku really shows off Nai Palm's writing ability, her clever lyrical compositions: three sets of haikus merge together seamlessly over the course of a two minute song.

While the record is mostly new work from Nai Palm, it does have a few ‘covers’ of Hiatus Kaiyote songs, which quite frankly, blow their original versions out of the water. Mobius slows down the tempo and is filled with the lush harmonies you hear throughout the record, Atari is flanked with intricate, soft guitar melodies and Borderline With My Atoms sticks pretty closely to the original but with an air of –something more; it’s hard to pick what makes it so much more hard hitting than the original.

However, it’s Molasses that really blows you out of the water – for a song that was already pretty damn flawless, Nai Palm has really worked her magic on this one to make it something else. The frantic yet soft vocals are incredibly tight yet lucidly flowing, the melody has had slight adjustments to suit the stream of the song better, and the feel has ever so slightly been swung, which changes the overall vibe. Her voice is silky yet still sharp and the single guitar lets her vocals and harmony arrangements hit you with their full impact.

If you were expecting the craziness of a Hiatus Kaiyote record you might be disappointed by the softness of this one, but if you’re after something mellow, tender and musically sophisticated, then you’re gonna be hitting repeat on this one from Nai Palm.

- Olivia Shoesmith.


Album Details

Album Title: Needlepaw
Artist: Nai Palm
Record Label: (Sony)