A nervy, magnetic, and photogenic English noise rock/garage punk trio from London, Yak is the creation of Black Country-bred suburbanites Oli Burslem and Andy Jones and New Zealand-born drummer Elliot Rawson. Employing the sonic heft of the Hives and the White Stripes along with the pop unpredictability of the Velvets, Television, and the Fall, the trio began functioning publicly in late 2014, issuing its debut single, "Hungry Heart," in February 2015. A Third Man Records-issued EP, No, followed in October of that year, and in May 2016 they released their much anticipated debut long-player, Alas Salvation.
There’s always been an element of chaos to the London-based trio Yak, which made their exhilarating live shows so memorable. It’s an approach that they take to a new level with their second album ‘Pursuit of Momentary Happiness’, which will be released on February 8th under a new deal with Virgin EMI / Third Man Records. Yakprovide another taster of the album by sharing the new single ‘Fried’.
The creation of the album saw frontman Oli Burslemstand on the precipice between obsession and self-destruction. He sacrificed everything for his artistic vision, including his own financial security and mental health. Who invests every last penny into recording, to the point where they become homeless?
“I don’t want it to be a boo-hoo story,”says Burslem.“It was fun doing it. It’s nice to push yourself to the limit, and I can say now that I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks, because it’s a document of that time, and it’s honest and open, and I couldn’t have done or given much more.”
The result is a rare white-knuckle ride of an album in which his extreme commitment pulsates through every moment – much likeSpiritualized’s ’Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space’and Tame Impala’s ’Innerspeaker’, both of whose creators had a part to play in its genesis – ranging from the gonzo-fuzz chaos of tracks like ‘Blinded By The Lies’through to the Roy Orbison-inspired heartbreak of ‘Words Fail Me’.
Yakhad blazed a trail through the indie rock scene with their debut album ‘Alas Salvation’ and ended that era of their career with a landmark show at London’s Scala. Burslemand drummer Elliot Rawson were eager to make a second record, but bassist Andy Jones departed for a new life in Australia. A chance meeting with Jay Watsonfrom Tame Impala’stouring band resulted inBurslemhatching a plan to rehearse together in Melbournebefore quickly recording the album at Tamemainman Kevin Parker’sstudio inPerth - with Burslemstopping in Tokyo to focus on writing.
It didn’t work out. Burslemreturned to the UK with no home, no money and no album. 18 hazy months passed, during whichYakfound their new bassist Vinny Daviesand then a fresh focus. Yak were introduced to Spiritualized chief Jason Pierce through his bandmate John Coxon, andPierce encouraged them that they still had something worth pursuing. That resulted in a new deal with Virgin EMI,andBurslemcommitted to sorting out his personal situation… just as soon as he’d finished the album.
They headed to RAK Studioswith producer Marta Salogni (Björk,Django Django) and spent 10 hectic days recording 29 songs, 11 of which feature on the album. Burslemthen withdrew to a small home studio with Pierceto apply some finishing touches.Pierceadded slide guitar and vocals to the finale ‘This House Has No Living Room’, which sails out on Burslem’sfield recording of birdsong. Against all advice, his dedication resulted in one final trip, this time toNew York to completely remix the album.
Friday 5th April 2019
Price: £12.50 adv