“They’ve set a marker for every borderline-insane newcomer emerging in the next decade.” – DIY
“Every so often a new band will arrive clamouring that guitar music isn’t dead, as if they’re mid-CPR. Yak have crash-landed clutching its still-beating heart, wearing an irrepressible grin.” – NME
“Yak shoot from the hip with an impetuous first-timers’ racket that’s rarely short of breathtaking.” – Q
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. Yak provide another taster of the album by sharing the new single ‘Fried’.
The creation of the album saw frontman Oli Burslem stand 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 like Spiritualized’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’.
Yak had 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. Burslem and 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 Watson from Tame Impala’s touring band resulted in Burslem hatching a plan to rehearse together in Melbourne before quickly recording the album at Tame mainman Kevin Parker’s studio in Perth – with Burslem stopping in Tokyo to focus on writing.
It didn’t work out. Burslem returned to the UK with no home, no money and no album. 18 hazy months passed, during which Yak found their new bassist Vinny Davies and then a fresh focus. Yak were introduced to Spiritualized chief Jason Pierce through his bandmate John Coxon, and Pierce encouraged them that they still had something worth pursuing. That resulted in a new deal with Virgin EMI, and Burslem committed to sorting out his personal situation… just as soon as he’d finished the album.
They headed to RAK Studios with producer Marta Salogni (Björk, Django Django) and spent 10 hectic days recording 29 songs, 11 of which feature on the album. Burslem then withdrew to a small home studio with Pierce to apply some finishing touches. Pierce added slide guitar and vocals to the finale ‘This House Has No Living Room’, which sails out on Burslem’s field recording of birdsong. Against all advice, his dedication resulted in one final trip, this time to New York to completely remix the album.
The album Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness out on Feb 8.
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