starlight, the 2018 debut EP from Edmonton, Alberta’s nêhiyawak, introduced us to an indie-rock trio with a preternatural talent for balancing raw discord and emotional release, while foregrounding their Cree heritage through songs addressing Canada’s historic mistreatment of Indigenous people. Their first proper album, nipiy, builds on that foundation, literally—it absorbs the EP’s five tracks, but recontextualizes them within an even more expansive 12-song canvas. The propulsive post-punk of “copper” hits even harder now that it’s set up by the stormy ambient surge of “kisiskâciwanisîpiy pêyak” and followed by the scabrous spoken-word dirge “page,” with the three tracks forming a seamless mini-suite encompassing their most artful and visceral qualities. And their fusion of traditional and modern forms has only become more seamless, as they power the shoegazing sound of “ôtênaw” with clattering percussion made from carved cedar logs.

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