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Yard Act – Dream Job Review

Dare we consider what happens when life does not give us the chance to take the money and run? Yard Act tip themselves and their listeners on their heads on this new single, a proper tease of album number two which should release in time to give us something to do in the early stages of the new year. Dream Job, the first single from the upcoming album Where’s My Utopia?, commits to a gutsy and inspired revival of a culture forty years gone by. Fittingly so, considering The Overload was filled with the repugnant ignorance those plucky souls of decades gone by were and are filled with. Their inevitable drip feed of VHS-era scrutiny and quality is a fitting follow-up to the post-punk madness which precedes it. “It’s ace”, as frontman James Smith says.  

“Welcome to the future,” is one of many chunks to take from Yard Act. They are paving their way to their own with a few bits and pieces from their earlier work still lingering. This is the sound of a band who consolidated their first efforts, realised they would do it differently given another go, and are learning their trade once more. Flickers of Post War Glamour Girls are there, Smith’s older works are not to be forgotten. Nor is the exceptional work Sam Shipstone puts in, a nice bridging bit of work toward the end of the track is a neat bow to wrap around it. Dig further in and listen to those lyrics — little flutters which lead to nothing rewards on the goalless draws. Walk through any high street in the UK and Yard Act is ripping up the pavement with their on-the-money commentary. 

Their frustrations and puzzled outlook is understandable, the rat race kicked from the outside. It is no change to what those in the bubble would do, but Yard Act is rooted in their Leeds-based ways and it brings the sense of genuine appeal and brothers-in-arms style which helped The Overload. Yard Act shoulders the burden just as much as they worry about the damage it does to our backs. Their newfound disco candour has the same fire burning within as The Overload but Yard Act are keen to adapt themselves further, to not become repetitive tricks. Dream Job is as challenging for the band as it is a rewarding start to their Where’s My Utopia? phase. Their shift began with The Trenchcoat Museum, the bridge of a gap between the first and second albums which still fits nicely.  

A staggered, vacant-looking skeleton plastered on the front of this upcoming second record feeds the despondent, hollow feel scattered across the world. This is the dream and it feels like hell. A Jessie Ware-like fusion of corporate horrors and the tongue-in-cheek nature Yard Act finds such comfort in, thankfully doubled down on. Through the fear comes an energy to combat it and Dream Job does just that. Redundancies and gambling in equal strength as Smith and company power through some exceptional instrumentals and stomach-churning mock joviality. Ryan Needham lays it all bare with the thump of his bass and layered backing vocals elsewhere giving it the Free Yourself energy Ware brought earlier this year. Yard Act was never going to repeat itself, but to shift their tone and style this much is admirable, and crucially, works.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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