By Simon Sweetman
Petone’s six-piece reggae-soul-roots group Hikoikoi are more likely to follow in the steps of Kora than the bbq-reggae of The Black Seeds. This debut album has the feeling of having everything thrown at it – from Bob Marley-inspired wah-guitar to Ginger Baker drum solos; with female and male vocals, in English and Te Reo. Still, with the band members clearly delighting in building songs from ideas created in jamming it has an organic flow. The drums might ride off along the cymbal to a jazz pattern only to hiccup back on to the reggae track with a snare-rim click; the bass bubbles and pulses, always touching base with reggae and dub ideas but flirting with blues and soul grooves too. Hikoikoi have had a lot of press calling them ‘the next big thing out of Wellington’, or words along those lines. That might even be more than 50% correct, but it’s damaging that this talented group may get written off as being boring for the nine months of the year that NZers aren’t frying sausages and drinking beer outside.