CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED DEBUT ALBUM THE OVERLOAD OUT TODAY ON ZEN F.C. / ISLAND
Praise for Yard Act’s The Overload:
“lives up to its hype with flying colours”
“A stellar debut”
Rolling Stone 5*
“We hope the rest of 2022’s musical output is as good as this album.”
“will remain omnipresent in the music press for another 12 months to come”
The Forty Five 5*
“A debut album bursting with character”
Uncut 4 ½ *
“an album of deeply relatable storytelling for the plight of the ordinary people”
The Line Of Best Fit 4 ½ *
“An exhilarating record”
MOJO Album of the Month 4*
“witty post-punks confront post-Brexit Britain”
The Guardian Album of the week 4*
“The much lauded rock band from Leeds justifies the hype with a set of 11 smart, fierce tracks”
The Telegraph Album of the week 4*
“an exciting prospect for 2022”
The Times 4*
“Seldom do you hear such sentimentality and beauty in music as brusque as this”
“the greatest lyrical party you will have in a long time”
The record has been subject of stellar reviews across the board in national media with Album of the week accolades from The Guardian, The Telegraph (both 4*) and The Sunday Times coinciding with high scoring write-ups from DIY, Rolling Stone, Dork, The Forty Five (all 5*), Uncut, The Line Of Best Fit (both 4 ½ *), MOJO, The Times, NME, Gigwise (all 4*) and more.
Despite only releasing their debut single ‘The Trapper’s Pelts’ in 2020, Yard Act have made a sensational impact, invigorating and revitalising the UK’s new bands scene in the process. Alongside landing on the BBC Sound Of 2022 longlist this month, Yard Act also featured on the cover of DIY Magazine’s Class of 2022 issue, the current cover of So Young Magazine and were NME’s Big Read cover last Friday.
On Monday this week, Yard Act served up the Hottest Record in the World on BBC Radio 1’s Future Sounds with Clara Amfo and shared their cover of ‘Tiny Dancer’, which was given the blessing of fan Sir Elton John himself who praised their version of one of his most notoriously difficult songs to master in a personal telephone call to frontman James Smith.
Yard Act rounded off 2021 with a string of fully sold-out headline shows on their first ever UK tour – earning accolades such as The Observer’s Artist Of The Week (4*) and a perfect 5* review in The Times along the way. Having already sold out their entire February and March tour and the subsequent run in May, Yard Act have shared details of a November tour taking in their biggest rooms to date.
Singles from the album ‘The Overload’ and ‘Payday’ have been heavily supported across UK radio by the likes of BBC 6 Music (both singles were A-Listed), Radio 1 (where ‘The Overload’ was crowned the Introducing Tune Of The Week and received daytime airplay from everyone from Greg James to Arielle Free), and John Kennedy at Radio X (who featured ‘Payday’ as a Hot One on the X-Posure show). The band also made their UK television debut in November, performing the album’s title track and lead single on Later… with Jools
Spanning 11 entirely new tracks, The Overload is a record which rages with Yard Act’s inimitable wit, musical dexterity and tasteful curation. Littered with Yard Act’s signature dark humour and knowing cynicism, The Overload pokes fun at society without ever punching down from a place of superiority. “Lyrically, I think it’s a record about the things that we all do – we’re all so wired into the system of day to day that we don’t really stop and think about the constructs that define us,” says Smith. “But also beyond that, it’s kind of exciting, because there’s still so much we don’t understand; how a hive mindset is forged, how information spreads, how we agree and presume things without thinking. Some people think more than others, but a lot of this sloganeering – ‘I’m on the left, I’m not wrong’ – doesn’t achieve anything. Gammons, Karens, Snowflakes, whatever – I find it all so boring. I’m just not into that.”
Spearheaded by James Smith (vocals) and Ryan Needham (bass), the now four-piece, completed by Sam Shjipstone (guitar) and Jay Russell (drums), have built a sound that speaks inherently to their birthplace of Leeds, West Yorkshire, and yet ties together observations from all walks of modern British life – the small-town bloke in the local pub, the anti-capitalist stuck at a desk job, the tired activist in all of us torn between easy complicity and the desire to fight.
Having grown from relatively casual pub acquaintances to housemates, Smith and Needham found living together to be conducive to a high work rate, racking up demos in quick succession. Settling into a system of programming, looping and layering, the alchemy between the two created a base from which to build their narrative world. “Ryan is a vibe guy, whereas I overthink everything,” laughs Smith. “It’s been the greatest creative partnership I’ve ever had. When you find a groove that works, it just kind of looks after itself.”
With just three hometown shows under their belt, world events intervened. But rather than letting the pandemic derail them Yard Act set up their own imprint, Zen F.C. and across the course of 2020 and into early 2021 released four increasingly coruscating, hilariously dark singles with ‘The Trapper’s Pelts’, ‘Fixer Upper’, ‘Peanuts’ and Dark Days’ all securing BBC 6 Music airplay, and despite the circumstances developing a remarkable, ever increasing fanbase.
Pulling off a debut album in a pandemic isn’t easy, but somehow, Yard Act have made it work. Recording with Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, Perfume Genius, Aldous Harding) at his Bristol studio, those prolific demos have been sharpened down into something that speaks to the times we live in, creating a statement of intent that survives on nuance – a record of retro influences, recorded in a modern way. The Overload is a political record, but in the same way that all great observations of human nature are – a messy, complex, knowingly hypocritical snapshot of our current state of play.
Yard Act – The Overload – out 21/01/2022 via Zen F.C.
1. The Overload
2. Dead Horse
5. The Incident
7. Land Of The Blind
8. Quarantine The Sticks
9. Tall Poppies
10. Pour Another
11. 100% Endurance