Yard Act – The Overload
Yard Act live up to the hype on their surprisingly versatile debut album, The Overload
Of all the post-punk newcomers cluttering up BBC Radio 6 Music right now, Yard Act might be The Fall-est of them all. James Smith enunciates a little more clearly than his namesake, but the Northern grit is present and correct, not to mention the alternating cynicism, disgust and earnest desire for something more than the status quo.
A character-driven lyrical thread ties the album's concerns together (i.e. the trappings of capitalism) but musically, Yard Act are all over the shop. They borrow from brooding post-punk (Tall Poppies), minimalism + woodblock (Rich), pseudo-electro (Payday) and even Britpop's earwormy guitar-pop (The Overload, Witness). But it all makes for a rich palette to wax lyrical about 'concrete meadows of the soul' (those are potholes) or the brilliant summation of everything terrifying about little England: 'morris-dancing to Sham 69'.
It's a little front-loaded as the first three songs are by far the most immediate (except Witness and Pour Another) and memorable. But luckily, Tall Poppies anchors the closing songs with its six-plus minutes (nothing else exceeds four), painting a grim portrait of dreary, provincial life without being condescending (ahem, Model Village) or reductive (Glory Days). It's a beautifully nuanced tale that offsets the snarky nature of the rest of the album, something that makes the final note of sincere hopefulness on 100% Endurance earned rather than forced.
Listen to: Tall Poppies, Dead Horse, The Overload