Rock bands of late have been unexciting to me, and many others, and so it has been necessary to edge towards the experimental fringes of the genre in order to discover anything interesting enough to occupy your earphones for more than a week. However, Yak manage to tap into what has established rock as one of the most powerful genres around, but also manage to let certain aspects go, giving the sense that, unlike others, they perhaps don’t just wish they were born in the 70s or 80s. Yak look to cement what success they have gained so far with the great milestone of debut album-‘Alas Salvation’ released on Friday 13th May (hopefully no bad luck there).
With ferocious live bands, it is often the case that much of the magic is left un-harnessed on record through over-production, but in this case producer Steve Mackey (of Pulp bassist fame and now an accomplished producer) has managed to capture the intensity and threat with just enough refinery to create a listen-able studio version. ‘Alas Salvation’ seems to delve deep into the hazy depths of the bands unconscious, and, piercing its way through the ever present fuzz, riff-heavy bass and guitar rhythms reign supreme. Oliver Burslem’s vocals range from an echoing, cool swagger as heard on ‘Smile’ to full-blown, frantic punk snarling on lead track ‘Victorious(National Anthem)’. ‘Alas Salvation’ is an album to be listened to as a single entity-each track seeps into the next seamlessly through the continuing sludgy background noise; a canvas of sound on which the album is based.
Bass heavy and dripping with fuzz, ‘Alas Salvation’ is perfect homage to the live show which has been one of the main foundations for Yak’s success. At this point it would be easy to shoehorn in a classic cliché about how Yak are keeping rock alive, but instead I wish to forget what has come before and look to the future, where Yak are proving that you can ignore everyone else and forge your own path; just doing what you want to do. Leading a new wave of bands operating by this ethos, buoyed by the success of what is surely one of the greatest debuts of 2016 so far, Yak are sure to make it big, and make it big fast.