Leeds’s homegrown post-punk sons Yard Act are back with a new striking addition to the vinyl collection following 2022’s critically acclaimed debut, The Overload. Building on from their first album has come a well-crafted and polished piece of work, with that same pronounced satirical lyricism combined with James’s unique style of delivery, reminiscent of a young Mark E Smith; blended with poignant and moody instrumentation provided by Ryan, Sam, and Jay.

This album has such great variety with tracks like ‘Dream Job’ showing the more poppy side of the band, with the song’s infectious chorus of adjectives, coupled with a steady, thumping bass and timeless ‘80s style synth work that gets the listener grooving and bopping yet still staying uniquely Yard Act at the same time because of the lyrics like “It’s ace! Top! Mint!”. The same can also be said for another of the album’s singles, ‘We Make Hits’ which incorporates the same formula plus adding a statement of intentions for the band and I think that they have achieved that with this project. With their debut, they laid a solid foundation, and this allowed them to grow from it and find their strengths, those strengths have been used masterfully to create a record chock full of diversity.

On the flip side of the record is the more gloomy, moody post-punk side with tracks like ‘Petroleum’ being the definition of a post-punk tune, very bassy backdrop with dark lyrics and almost lethargic delivery to match the tone perfectly, distorted guitar riffs adding quite an angry depth to the song, then to subvert all of that is a vocal harmony breaking up the middle of the song, like a bit of hope in despair.

Another example of the album’s diversity is the opening track ‘An Illusion’ which creates a tense but spacey atmosphere for the listener thanks to the jangly guitar riffs that morph into aggressive low notes as the song progresses creating that intensity the added use of a string orchestra creating vivid layers plus having those sombre, satirical lyrics that suit the instrumentation like it was tailored, paired with James’s smooth delivery on the spoken word parts and excellent delivery on the sung parts with backing vocalists. A phenomenal start to the album and certainly made me excited to listen.

Another notable track is ‘Blackpool Illuminations’, it’s a story of the vocalist’s holiday to Blackpool with some unforeseen twists, almost feeling like listening to a man rambling to a therapist. This spoken word song contains light instrumentation that becomes heavier and more atmospheric as you listen to this seven-minute journey, a great song that deserves your undivided attention.

Yard Act is one of the new wave post-punk poster boys, rising so quickly to stardom through their timeless, stylistic and unique brilliance that came from their incredible debut album, ‘ The Overload’ and has shone through again in this project as well, really capitalising on their rocket rise to stardom by going for more commercial tracks but at the same time keeping themselves grounded with contrasting songs that have grit and rawness taken from modern British life. The band only goes from strength to strength, improving lyrically and stylistically with every single release.

I wholeheartedly loved this record and am excited to hear what’s to come next from one of current music’s fastest-rising and distinctive voices.

Yard Act: Where’s My Utopia – Out 1st March 2024 (Island Records)

Act – Dream Job (youtube.com)