After seeing their more than intense performance supporting Superfood at Heaven, we’ve loved the raucousness of London rock trio Yak who have just released their latest EP Plastic People – a record comprised of the band’s dark and heavier sounds whilst also holding back this onslaught of aggression in tracks like Smile to hear their unexpectedly tender undertones.
Yak certainly portray themselves as having that apathetic ‘rock and roll’ attitude which everyone seems to desire with, as we mentioned in our previous review of Smile, lead singer Oli Burslem oozes a sense of Mick Jagger from his tousled shoulder length hair to the arbitrary amounts of emotion in his vocals. This classic Yak sound that most are familiar with from the likes of Hungry Heart reflects in the EP’s title track Plastic People with screeching guitars and a savage performance on the drums from Elliot Rawson. Discordant melodies litter the track in alliance with the outcries of Burslem’s assailing vocals which surprisingly seem to be about love, although not in the typical sense. It’s more about the pain of love which can be read in two ways with the lyrics ‘how can I breathe when you’re right next to me’ being reflecting of either extreme passion or fear.
‘A chiming psychedelic guitar riff slowly echoes before hearing the faint whispering of Burslem’ are the words we previously used to describe the second track on the EP Smile which was released several months ago as a preview of what we could expect to hear Plastic People. This is where we see the band developing their sound through passages of calm and seducing vocals then contrasting with the intense frenzies of radical interplay between instruments we hear as the track builds. Suddenly all of this intensity stops as a slam of the drums silences everything to a mere hiss leading us into the final track Distortion. When hearing the track it’s clear that Yak couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate title with the scuzz of, literally, distorted guitars fading in and out over Burslem’s distant chants of ‘distortion’ and a delicate riff before reaching an emotional climax and dropping away. If you were looking for a pattern in the way Yak write their songs, these build ups would definitely be one with the amounts of dissonance and instrumental power leaving you feeling somewhat drained.
Yak songs are certainly intense, even if they are the slower and more solemn ones, with Plastic People being no exception to this. The variation of tension, passion and emotion throughout make it a very eclectic collection of tracks, something which we hope to hear on the album.
Words by William Castile