Yak want to make you feel something. Whether its uncomfortable, angry or empowered, Oli Burslem (vocals/guitar/organ), Andy Jones (bass/vocals) and Elliot Rawson (drums/vocals) only do it in extremes. Having toured alongside King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Peace and The Last Shadow Puppets to name a few, this is not a band to sleep on.
They truly hit the ground running with the release of their debut single ‘Hungry Heart’ in 2015. The alt-rock trio were praised by everyone from Stereogum (“‘Hungry Heart’ is a memorable track with soul-crushing, foot-stomping fury”) to The Quietus (“‘Hungry Heart’ is a relentless three-minute onslaught, which coats a kinetic, Led Zeppelin-shaded bass line in some of the noisy, propulsive layers of Toy”).
Their full-length album Alas Salvation arrived in 2016, with their ferocious live experience channeled directly into the record. Recorded with Pulp’s Steve Mackey, it’s wired, ambitious and refuses to be pigeonholed. Yet, beneath all the head-spinning chaos, lies a beating heart of great melodicism and a hyperactively eclectic and inventive approach to making music. Burslem commented “I was trying to make it a slightly schizophrenic record that had all these different elements, but had so much of everything that by the end it would all just be lost and everybody would be like, ‘What the hell was that? I don’t know what that was, but I kind of enjoyed it’”.
Still riding the high of Alas Salvation‘s phenomenal success (including being awarded 5* by DIY), they’ve recently released the two lead singles of their upcoming second album, as well as announcing their signing to Virgin EMI. ‘White Male Carnivore’ was dropped in August – distorted and chaotic as expected. One the topic of its title, Burslem says “I was living in Tokyo, struggling to write and a friend advised me to write from my own point of view. So I wrote this. I listed my diet, my sex and my race – among other things. The three words which made me feel the most uncomfortable were white, male and carnivore. Everything currently seems reductive and polarising. This song is a reflection of that.”
Their latest single ‘Bellyaches’, however, sets a contrasting mood for the as-yet-untitled record. Slow, brooding bass lines layered with repetitive scuzz-filled riffs and an epic brass section show Yak being as unpredictable and electrifying as ever. As Phil Taggart of BBC Radio 1 says, you could stick your hand on a pylon and it wouldn’t be as buzzy as this band right now.
Get tickets for their headlining show at Manchester Deaf Institute here!introducing / yak