"As always we hope you enjoy your stay in paradise, thank you for drinking with Tikiyaki Airways, and aloha baby!" the captain of a Waikiki bound plane announces over the intercom of the opening track of The Tikiyaki Orchestra's Aloha, Baby! It's a welcome introduction to the gently swaying, Hawaiian exotic heard throughout the album. Essentially the album works as a soundtrack for careless, sun-soaked vacations under breezy, tropical decor. Though there's more to Aloha, Baby! underneath its ocean dunked instrumentation and tropic atmosphere, where everything from retired couples on holiday, '60s suburbia, and neo-noir crime mafias are accounted for.
After being whisked away to a tropical island far, far away on the opening track, "Polynesian Village Love Theme" basks in the sun, peacefully letting go through soothing vibraphones and palm tree-tuned guitars. It's the sound of tranquility, laying somewhere between Bikini Bottom and Goo Lagoon. Picking up the pace is "La Hula Rhumba", as an upbeat, jazzy interpretation of the sounds of the jungle is played in what could only be a cocktail lounge. The vibe of the album slowly segues on "In Search of Mei Ting", as a mysterious shade of black-and-white instrumentation gathers evidence from a scandalous Hawaiian crime. The bandits are revealed and chased down vigorously on "Kono's Revenge", a tune that wouldn't sound out of place on John Zorn's Naked City (minus the grindcore onslaught), as a perfectly placed police siren drones in the backdrop of a banging chase scene.
Though things eventually cool down, as a glass of liquor is downed on the smooth lounge-jazz of "Lotus Operandi". Beyond the aforementioned sounds are tunes like "Mysteria" and "Chateau Leilani", that sound bound for 70s game shows, and soundtrack of calming summer days in 1960's suburbia; palm trees a'waving and baseballs a'flying. Throughout Aloha, Baby!, The Tikiyaki Orchestra manage to hold a consistent groove of their signature ocean canopied exotica, but with each song give that sound a different resonance. Whether it's through tropical atmospheres, wave running surf rock, mysterious spy-jazz, or lounge cocktail smoothness, Aloha Baby! is some of the most fun I've had listening to an album all year, and proves no matter which end of the world you're at, music is universal.
[The Tikiyaki Orchestra Myspace]
[Buy Aloha, Baby! from Future Primitive]