The term ‘punk’ is thrown about loosely, but if you kickstart your career setting up your own label, then start playing gigs with a borrowed bass guitar and drum machine, you’re sure to be granted that title with the utmost respect. Even from punk snobs. Johnny Rotten where are you?
3 gigs and 2 singles in, Yard Act are a Leeds based quartet, merging the sounds of 70s post punk with 90s British invasion music. All in the most polarising and pleasing form.
Take their newest single ‘Fixer Upper’, which sounds like a not so distant cousin to Blur’s ‘Parklife’. Lyrically a soliloquy about home improvement. Told from the perspective of ‘Graham’. An idealist figure who seemingly can’t be wrong about his views on English heritage. Backed by a pummelling drum machine, clangouring guitar riff, and a simple (but effective) bassline that advances at the speed of an olympic sprinter. The wooden humour and clever wordplay give the group an edge that (if not right away) will reveal itself upon repeated listens. Although minimal, every so often a funky guitar groove jumps in, building the track to new instrumental ground. We all know a ‘Graham’, and funnily enough, he probably lives on our road.
Yard Act’s other offering (and debut single), ‘The Trapper’s Pelts’ is no disappointment either. Similarly to ‘Fixer Upper’, the track is based around bassline and drum machine. Yet this one is murkier, and more distorted. Especially when paired with the ambiguous, lofty lyrics, which seem (to my ears) to depict retail companies reselling animal fur on clothing. Yard Act’s lyrics are funny, but not in a humorous way. More in a ‘oh crap our planet is dying’ kind of way, but really we need more of this and i’m sold on it.
It’s early doors for Yard Act. From what they’ve put out, the sky could be the limit. I remain curious to hear where they will go from here. I imagine they will build their sound and become yet more ambitious instrumentally. Potentially taking over the country, becoming the most Speedy Wunderground band not on Speedy Wunderground. But whatever happens, they will be high on the list of groups to see live post covid.
Key Track: ‘Fixer Upper’ – A real stream of conscious gem. With it’s best line stating that a media degree is pointless.
For Fans Of: The Streets, Ian Dury, Happy Mondays, The Fall