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Hikes - Mahal Kita

- New Album Review & Stream -

Austin, TX's Hikes seamlessly blends folk music with math rock and adds of touch of soul.

This album has it all, thrashy guitar riffs, twinkly tapping parts, soft and heavy parts and much more.

The quiet parts act as gateways to the singer's soul while the louder parts signify a burning passion within, a cry for change and a declaration of hope.

The clean unbound energy that exudes from Hikes is something unmatched by any other band I have ever listened to.

The 1st single dropped from the album was "Extra Mile" beginning with a briskly paced drumbeat and linear hammer-on/pull off guitar licks it's not long until a background vocal harmony and a time signature change takes place. Tropical vibes ensue as what sounds like steel pan drums come in and bring sounds from the islands while group background vocal screams bring depth and aggressiveness to the mix.

The title track "Mahal Kita" is my favorite song on the album and possibly of the month.

This song is breathtakingly beautiful. There is an innocence to Nay's voice at times, like an entity unmarred by the evils of the world exploring a vast universe from a cloud in the sky.

Other times in Nay's vocals therein exists a woeful passion unleashed like a dragon's flame-throwing roar. The pre-chorus "I need it to rain" is simply and softly spoken, yet emanates a feeling of yearning to a great degree.

"Graying" is a song I recognize from a video the lead singer Nay posted a while back. This jazzy little thing, is very orchestrated and includes strings and duet vocals. Sweeping, tapping runs and "ooh-ahh" dream like background vocals make this song more like a lullaby.

"Empathy" is the first song on the album that sounds like it has something to convey in a more direct way. Starting with an alarm like quality, complete with half speed blast beats things quiet down quickly from the initial shock, but not for long as the energy levels rise and fall again like waves in the ocean. Loud and soft vocals go back and forth in a tumultuous sea of anxiety and stop start riffs where the whole band in unison syncopate an arduous journey in an alternate world. There's so much texture and things going on in this song I won't be able to list everything but, this is for sure a stand out track in my opinion.

"Beauty, Again" is straight up math folk. This song reminds me just a little bit of Elliott Smith. This song could lift a rabid dog out of it's bed replace the covers and gently place the dog back down without the dog ever knowing it was moved. In other words it's gentle.

Ending with a playful vocal sample, whirring strings and a "wall of sound" style recording production technique sound it carries on a little longer. These little finishing touches make the song sound complete with more full background vocals, this song reconciles the album as a whole as Hikes leave me in tears and in a loving mood ready to press repeat. - M Chan


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