The Leeds quartet’s state-of-the-nation debut is an instant classic
Formed from the ashes of previous cult bands, Leeds-based Yard Act are 2022’s anointed guitar act and deservedly so. Northern, observational, shoo-ins for indie disco playlists, it’s tempting to compare them to local heroes Kaiser Chiefs. In truth, The Overload – Yard Act’s debut – better resembles classics such as Blur’s Modern Life Is Rubbish, but as sung by the Fall’s Mark E Smith or Mike Skinner: a takedown of where, who and how we are now, full of declamatory ire and fed-up humour.
Money and lack thereof are themes on The Overload, as are nuanced character studies of “tall poppies” and crooks, people who sue the council and those trying to get by without hypocrisy. Yard Act’s core tunefulness and the easy “ba-ba-ba”s on songs such as Land of the Blind go hand-in-hand with unexpected musical feints throughout, with sound effects, ad libs and unexpected guitar counter-melodies keeping listening ears on their toes.
The decade this outfit have spent in other bands pays off in a record that’s raucous and fun, incisive and – as it winds to a close – profoundly heartfelt, as vocalist James Smith apologises disgustedly for the sins of British foreign policy.