Self Titled EP // Independent
When you find out that a band is comprised of all indigenous artists, you quickly think Tanya Tagaq or A Tribe Called Red. That isn’t what indigenous music needs to sound like. The indigenous sounds cultivated by Edmonton’s Nêhiyawak are not obvious, they play indie rock but with a keen ear, influences from their culture’s music can be heard. These sounds are simply blended into modern, indie rock so seamlessly that the listener needs to be told to listen for them. Nêhiyawak’s (pronounced: neh-Hee-o-wuk) first release is a three song EP that is way too mature for a brand new band. The sounds move together effortlessly. Atmospheric synths compliment fuzzy guitar work while steady, driving percussion pushes everything forward with urgency. The percussion is the backbone of the music, much like traditional indigenous music, it is the most important element. It keeps the songs moving forward. The guitar and synth sound as though they could go on a psychedelic journey for hours on end if the percussion wasn’t there to keep them in check. There are also subtle flourishes of indigenous music in the voice of frontman Kris Harper, again, you’d have to know in advance that he grew up with those sounds to hear them. Nêhiyawak’s first release is impressive, keep this band on your radar because they will not be going away.