As we heavily pushed (and pushed) and featured Yard Act with an exclusive of their debut album, The Overload, it is only with good conscience that we shout loudly about their new single, 'The Trench Coat Museum'. Luckily, and unsurprisingly, it's bloody excellent.
Australian audiences who witnessed one of the band's Laneway sets or headline shows earlier in the year might not be quite aware that frontman James Smith is rather known in his native country for wearing a trench coat. It was a little warm here during their visit, so he opted for something a little more summery. However, herein lies the premise of the band's new single, their first since the aforementioned debut. Smith tapped us on the shoulder when he visited our store and revealed that the new stuff was going to shake off the post-punk tag they'd been lumped with in exchange for something "a little bit more Gorillaz, maybe."
As it turns out, this new single indeed elevates the band to another league, one that isn't predictable and something that's closer to, yes, Gorillaz, with sonics more in common with the likes of LCD Soundsystem than their contemporaries. A closer inspection of the credits reveals that the band co-produced the song with Remi Kabaka, a guy known for being the drummer and producer of, you guessed it, Gorillaz. He was actually the voice of animated drummer Russel Hobbs and, in 2007, created the audiovisual collective Gorillaz Soundsystem.
The song might surprise the more conservative Yard Act fans, the ones who won't allow them to jump genres so freely. Cowbell and shakers kick it all off, immediately dictating one hell of a groove. The bassline to end all basslines and deep guitar feedback soon ensue, building the foundation of the song step by step -- by now, you know you're in for a ride. Turntablist scratching and, at last, Smith's trademark vocals ground it firmly in Yard Act territory. It's a giant leap in sonics, but it's undeniably them, surpassing expectations and landing the band in something new and nostalgic simultaneously. The vocals, reclaiming the trench coat and all it stands for, eventually give way to the extended outro. With all whirly electronics and hefty guitar distortion, it's The Rapture meets The Prodigy with a wry sense of humour and even a melodic nod to a deep Janet Jackson cut ('All Nite (Don't Stop)').
NONE of this is a slight; on the contrary, only the brave and deeply gifted can deliver something this stone-cold remarkable, something so specific to Smith's image and sense of humor, and totally devoid of universality, yet still produce something that will make the people come together... on the dance floor... like it's 2002 and 'House Of Jealous Lovers' rules all over again. Who knows, maybe Yard Act can be the ones to bring back dancing to guitars in the club all over again.
YARD ACT'S 'THE TRENCH COAT MUSEUM' OUT NOW ON ALL STREAMING PLATFORMS