Your Choice Way

Yard Act - The Overload Music Album Reviews

Yard Act - The Overload Music Album Reviews
The Leeds band’s mouthy and acerbic take on Brexit-era post-punk has the humor, polish, and storytelling of classic Britpop.

There’s no shortage of comparisons for Yard Act’s Brexit-era post-punk. It’s hard to resist all these groups channeling post-punk history to convey the tension of a fractured Britain while making noisy political music safe enough for Edgar Wright and FIFA soundtracks. But how many of these bands met Cillian Murphy on the set of Peaky Blinders years before releasing their debut? In a crowded field, the Leeds supergroup of Post War Glamour Girls’ James Smith, Menace Beach’s Ryan Needham, Sam Shjipstone, and Jay Russell just feels a little slicker and more fashionable than the competition. Their Coachella-safe take on The Fall—clever, jittery, and unapologetically British—has the humor, polish, and character-driven storytelling of classic Britpop. What they’d really like is for you to compare them to Pulp.

It’s not unwarranted. On the strength of 2021’s Dark Days EP—which, one year later, sounds like a concept album about “Remember when Johnny Marr was in Modest Mouse?”—Yard Act signed to Island, the same label that released Pulp’s major-label debut. Elton John became a fan. So did notable post-punk scholar Ed Sheeran. Cue the up-and-comer appearances in NME and DIY, on the BBC and Jools Holland. Smith, a frontperson who values a good narrative, seems to encourage the Britpop comparisons in interviews just so he can laugh them off (and shout out Orange Juice and Postcard Records instead). How you feel that he shares the same last name as Mark E. Smith—fun happenstance, insufferable media bait, a shrug—will probably tell you how much you’ll enjoy what Yard Act is selling.

But in a lean 37 minutes, The Overload earns its hype. It’s a confident debut LP from a young band seizing its moment and cutting the tension with a chuckle. They’re clearly aiming for something big. The ambition doesn’t always work, and the attempt to manifest a Yard Act extended universe yields mixed results. But it’s easy to root for a band whose failure to write a new “Common People” lands closer to “Darts of Pleasure.”

Dark Days had Smith rushing to spit out all his words as the band flexed their post-punk chops and Leeds-specific sense of rhythm and groove (see contemporaries like Galaxians and Big Softy). The Overload is still, indeed, wiry and angular. But now Smith (who’s credited with 50 percent of songwriting, alongside Needham and Shjipstone) and producer Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, Perfume Genius, Algiers) turn down the band’s fury to make room for Smith to perform a classic post-punk archetype: the despondent, overcoat-wearing sloganeer who mocks his peers and uses privilege to attack privilege. He’s too educated to start a riot, but young enough to support one. What we lose in velocity, we gain in clarity.

Smith has hinted that his outlandish characters recur across different songs, but it’s inconsequential whether the insufferable “Could he be a Leaver?” narrator from Dark Days’ “Fixer Upper” is the same insufferable narrator of this album’s title track. The fun is in the one-liners, like when Smith screams, “If you don’t challenge me on anything, you’ll find that I’m actually very nice. Are you listening? I’m actually very fucking nice!” On “The Incident,” he plays a white-collar crook who says, “I’m hellbent on expanding my heaven-sent empire, ethically,” like he’s ordering a latte. He’s having a grand time on “Rich,” picking on the anti-capitalist who comes into some capital and immediately changes the narrative to justify their own advancement. Even when the lyrics don’t work, like in the obvious England metaphor “Dead Horse,” the band tries to make the ranting sound compelling.

The Overload’s best moment might be its most restrained. While IDLES’ signature village song is full of racist idiots, “Tall Poppies” zooms in on one villager: a promising and handsome football captain who, for reasons unclear, never leaves home and trades his athletic gifts for a career in real estate. In comes a promotion, a mortgage, a marriage, a dog, children, and a vacation home in Costa del Sol. He can still play football on the side (he knows he’s still got it), and hey, his town now has an authentic Italian restaurant. The lyrics convey happy compromise. The music implies restlessness, growing looser and more uneasy as the footballer moves through marriage counseling, grandchildren, and an increasingly frightening feeling: Is this all there is? The whole village comes to his funeral. Smith then reveals himself to be the late footballer’s friend, viewing the deceased’s life as a question: Is the goal to live so that after we die, nobody speaks ill of us? Is it better to lead a small yet safe life involved in our communities, or to live big and in constant awareness of our insignificance? Does it matter?

The success of “Tall Poppies”—and the best moments on The Overload—is that it’s up to the listener to decide if these characters are sad sacks falling short of their full potential or decent human beings feeling thankful for their small existences. It’s a short-story delivery worthy of Jarvis Cocker, and the nuance and empathy that dares to ask these questions in a post-punk song make Yard Act the real deal.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Yard Act - The Overload Music Album Reviews Yard Act - The Overload Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, January 28, 2022 Rating: 5

0 comments:

Post a Comment