Yak - 'Pursuit of Momentary Happiness'
If you have yet to hear Yak, they’re good fun. Not overly complex, or pretentious- very much no-nonsense traditional shouting. They initially stumbled in front of us as a rag-tag pseudo-super group. Decorated by members of various outfits (namely the band Peace, Yelps, Gallon Drunk and INTL). This was backed up by a star-studded production and supporting team- Steve Mackey from Pulp, and more recently, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. Since their appearance in 2014 they have supported brotherly duo The Last Shadow Puppets, indie-pop outfit Peace and cult-psych icons King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.
This is their second LP, and it is not necessarily too dissimilar from their initial stab. While perhaps borrowing more from the stereotypical ‘60s sound, it is still very much the fuzzed-up psychedelic-big-boot-attitude we have come to expect from Yak.
The opening ‘Bellyache’ reeks of Kevin Parker, almost a bit too much. Despite that, the bass-line, like most of their tracks, has an addictive weight and warble. The rhythmic lyric deliverance makes for an incredibly danceable number. Foot-tapping mandatory, head-nodding or swaying encouraged.
The tender 2nd quarter of the album has a strong scent of Fat White-croon and gentle ‘60s reverb. This however seems to fall short, it feels a bit too derivative and lacks the traditional song-writing tact or lyricism that predecessors possessed. This is again revisited with the introduction of 'Encore', combining what sounds like Saul Adamczewski’s Casio keyboard and a guitar, which occasionally chimes in with a screech or two before building into a sweet crescendo.
The singles are undoubtedly the most stand-out of the record- ‘White Male Carnivore’ works on a huge riff and a rumbling bass. Burslem delivers the lyrics with barking bile and zealous rock ‘n’ roll spirit. ‘Pay Off vs. The Struggle’ is the sonic equivalent of Fistful of Dollars meets Blade Runner- with synth, galloping bass and a massive ominous sound.
Fear not, the album is still very much the traditional Yak fuzz-factory- while perhaps not particularly industrious, it is a good contribution to 2019. It is a rollercoaster of a listening experience, with satisfying melodies and such a rich sound that can only be achieved with a small loan for effects pedals. It is fun, loud, cathartic and well-worth a listen, or two. While the motifs are a bit saturated in the UK music scene now, Yak might not be the pioneers, but they definitely feature in the story.