Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Yard Act – The Overload

Just as Sound Of hasn’t given up on pop-soul singers yet, so has it not given up on rock…


Scott Mildenhall: Everything about Yard Act feels studied to the point of parody, so much that they could be Purves Grundy and Blouse. Therein lies their strength: these sometimes incoherent vignettes bear the burden of making sense with a mix of acute observation, acerbic expression and not-yet-browbeaten bewilderment. “The Overload” is a wide-ranging cry, but also an uncommonly pinpoint depiction of a gerontocratic society. It’s micro, it’s macro, and like The Fall if they were good.

Harlan Talib Ockey: I’ve heard a lot of British post-punk songs lately that sound kind of like The Fall and have good-but-not-great lyrics about how old white people don’t understand the world today. It’s not particularly apparent what makes this one different. The drum machine is lighting up the same part of my brain that likes The Kills’ “No Wow”, which is quite nice, but it’s not prominent enough to trigger any detailed thoughts.

Samson Savill de Jong: Is it a law that indie rock bands from Yorkshire have to make a song about promoters telling them they shouldn’t have ambitions?

Katherine St Asaph: Not a million miles away from Wet Leg et al, in its lightly propulsive stream-of-consciousness mindspew about the pointlessness of the world. Yard Act add some “Losing My Edge” energy, some borderline-boomery bitterness. You’d think that’d make things worse, but it doesn’t. This sound benefits from a bite.

Ian Mathers: I was watching this video about strategy in Survivor (stay with me here), and the point that’s stuck with me is that it’s not automatically better to be playing a more advanced game than those around you. If you’re one step ahead of your rivals that usually works out, but if you’re more like three or four, you’re usually operating on the assumption they’re within one level of you, and you can actually be beaten by someone playing a more simple game. (It’s the “I know that they know that I know that they know…” thing.) Anyway, I don’t know what level of irony Yard Act are on, but they’re either several steps too far ahead or too far behind me, and I hate this fucking song.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Now, I love Parquet Courts as much as the next guy but this feels excessive.

Oliver Maier: If we must be spoonfed shouty British post-punk until the end of time, let it be this decent at the minimum. James Smith is a bit Alex Turner, a bit Phil Daniels on “Parklife”, and a better frontman than others I could name. Still, “The Overload” betrays itself a bit, the droning hook stalling Smith’s otherwise-natural momentum and the fuzzy climax crowding out the dancey percussion — imagine a Sound of Silver deep cut if James Murphy was British and a worse producer. Yard Act’s problem is that they can’t decide whether to bang or rip.

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