British rock trio Yak popped into the Paste Studio in New York City following their recent show at Rough Trade in Brooklyn. The band is promoting their second full-length album, Pursuit of Momentary Happiness, (out now via Third Man Records and Virgin EMI) which Paste featured on our list of 10 Best Albums of February. It serves as the follow-up to 2016’s Alas Salvation, one of the most scorching rock ‘n’ roll debuts to come from the British Isles in quite a while.
Frontman Oli Burslem and co. performed three album cuts—”Words Fail Me,” “Layin’ It On The Line” and “Encore.” Electing not to perform any of their rambunctious singles is the kind of bold move that makes Yak so compelling. Throughout the session, Burslem sings into a plastic megaphone—giving off a wonderfully muffled, vintage effect. Before performing their final song “Encore,” Burslem expressed his wish to extend the session into the early hours of the morning. Fittingly, Burslem slightly altered the song’s lyrics to “You gotta leave when the internet audience wants more.”
Paste wrote in our full review of Pursuit of Momentary Happiness, “Burslem’s raw vocal spitting, their devilish guitars, booming drums and spasmodic energy all receive a generous boost from the rousing brass, which expands their capacity for majesty. In comparison to Alas Salvation, the forceful punk moments here are even more forceful and the sad, downtempo doo-wop moments are sadder…Tracks like ‘Bellyache’ and ‘Fried’ see Burslem fighting animalistic urges with every ounce of energy he can muster. It’s the kind of paranoid, blowtorched sound with a wide eyed-conviction that puts them somewhere on the border of unrelenting proto-punk and snarling Stones-y rock.”
Watch Yak’s full Paste Studio session below. You can purchase Pursuit of Momentary Happiness here.