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Review: Yak – Alas Salvation

It’s a sad reality that new music is more likely to be discovered at the click of a mouse rather than in murky venues these days. Although Londoners Yak are a bunch who have flipped that sentiment on its head. Having worked tirelessly trawling the country in the last few years, they’ve sparked emotion amongst listeners hungry for something real.

Needless to say, it’s these intense shows that have kept us waiting for this full-length. Anyone who’s made it along to one will know they’re the perfect rock and roll cliché; crowd-surfing, stage invasions, hurled pints; we’ve ultimately been left asking; how can this be matched on track? However, the abrasiveness, lingering charm and confidence are evident on their debut from the get-go.

Smudged hastily together amidst a backdrop of feedback, it’s a record that jumps intelligently from melody to downright thrashing in a matter of seconds. This isn’t a band who will ever comfortably appeal to the masses and that’s what’s great. Wrenching distortion on tracks like ‘Hungry Heart’ throw convention to the wind and you can’t help but feel sucked into the mess of it all.

It’s almost a relief to know that all such live sensibilities remain intact. Vocalist Oli Burslem is at the centre of the chaos throughout, he composes the noise into something more melancholic and moody in tracks like ‘Wilting Away’. This number bleeds into the road-worn title track ‘Alas Salivation’, proving there’s a burning authenticity behind the band, they know when to speed it up, slow it down and keep us on edge until the end.

This is a debut that meets all our expectations. Yak are a dangerous entity that demand to be taken seriously. Much like their live show, it’s quite disturbing with numbers like ‘Curtain Twitcher’ delivering a complete abrasive squall. However, they always manage to find an antidote with melodic guitars and vocals which step into more relaxed territory. Above all, this release feels like a natural culmination of the manic few years of the trio. A true menacing beauty.

Yak – Alas Salvation is out May 13th and you can pre-order the record here.