Release Date: Feb 8, 2019
Record label: Universal
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Like some kind of insane immersive process wedged between method acting and an attempt to recreate the mad adventures of a generation of beat poets, Yak’s Oli Burslem seems intent on throwing himself into his art to a semi-ludicrous extent. Case in point: he ended up living in a car for a decent portion of the making of the trio second’s record after pissing his advance away on a global gallivant. We’re not advocating it as a life choice, but for the wildcard singer, it works; ‘Pursuit of Momentary Happiness’ manages to harness even more of the band’s unpredictable live energy while careering between boggle-eyed riffy bangers and booze-sodden self-reflection in truly inimitable fashion.
There are bands who spend their entire careers hustling to make the right connections... and then there's Yak. Though they've been a group for barely half a decade, the British trio have already amassed a coterie of mentors, collaborators, and famous fans strong enough to fill the headlining ranks of an entire edition of Desert Daze. Their 2015 EP, No, was released through Jack White's Third Man Records; their 2016 full-length debut, Alas Salvation, was recorded with Pulp's Steve Mackey and earned tour invites from the Last Shadow Puppets, the side band of Arctic Monkeys singer Alex Turner.
Ah yes, the second album challenge. Everybody knows that the more praise your debut gets, the harder it will be to follow-up on that. The omnipresent existential question ends up revolving around a central dilemma: what to deliver? Besides the initially obvious answer of "one's artistic expression" (which in spite of its dated, naively romantic connotation, is or should be what it is all about), it's no secret that both the artist and the label will be carefully pondering on which path to pursue: more of the same and ending up being accused of simplistic repetition or -- worse! -- boredom? A completely different approach and risk losing one's fanbase altogether? Even if the answer is the formulaic "we make music for ourselves and if other people like it it's a bonus" we know all too well that it would be needlessly hypocritical to pretend it's all the same.
Yak's world fell apart after the release of their debut Alas Salvation in 2016. Bassist Andy Jones split, leaving guitarist Oli Burslem as the band's clear leader, yet the group stumbled through sessions with producer Jay Watson -- best known as a member of Tame Impala -- winding up with nothing to call finished. Rallying with producer Marta Salogni, who previously worked on records by Goldfrapp and Björk.
When Yak first arose in late 2014, it seemed like they could do no wrong. Their output was ferocious and their live shows were unhinged exhibitions of crafted pandemonium. And whilst many of their contemporaries fizzled into obscurity under their own hype, Yak released their debut 'Alas Salvation' to pretty-much widespread acclaim. However what followed was frontman Oli Burslem pushing himself to his artistic limit.