Staggering like a wedding singer at the bar long after his set is complete, Oli Burslem’s Cohen-esque croon echoes the empty spaces of a place past happy times on ‘This House Has No Living Room’ by Yak. Featuring J. Spaceman of Spiritualized, it is the final track from the English trio’s upcoming sophomore studio album, Pursuit of Momentary Happiness, and the third track the band has released from the forthcoming project, following ‘Bellyache’ and ‘Fried’. It’s a mesmerizing piece reminiscent of 60’s psychedelia that knows there is nothing left to be done.
Time within a place is measured here. “Inside this house / the walls are paper thin,” opens Burslem over an organ’s drone while muted mechanical percussion splashes behind. The singer’s vocals linger in this distant and lost space, and then the dull metal of full melancholic horns fill the room. ‘Well inside of here / I know it all too well / every single flaw that I won’t dwell no more / Cause this is where I reside / it’s no boulevard or drive / it’s just me, myself, and I.’
Pursuit of Momentary Happiness is the hard-won result of Yak’s rollercoaster of a career so far. Formed in 2014, the band released their first LP, 2016’s Alas Salvation, to critical acclaim. They played SXSW as well as Glastonbury, and toured with King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and The Last Shadow Puppets – Burslem’s voice has a striking resemblance to Alex Turner’s. Seemingly earmarked for success, the trio (at that point made up of Burslem, drummer Elliot Rawsom, and bassist Andy Jones) set off to record their second album at the Perth, Australia studio of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker. Things didn’t work out. Jones left the band to get married and relocated to Melbourne, and the now duo returned to England penniless with no album and no place to live.
Once home though, things took a turn when Burslem was introduced to Spiritualized’s frontman Jason Pierce (aka J. Spaceman) by Spiritualized’s John Coxton, who encouraged the duo to finish the record. They found a new bassist, Vinny Davies, and began recording the album at RAK studios with producer Marta Salogni. Pursuit of Momentary Happiness is the result of these tribulations and ‘This House Has No Living Room’ the ultimate and crowning track.
The ghosts of these past times wander through and emotions spill out on ‘This House’. Things forgotten and others that Burslem wishes had been forgotten leave an unsung imprint on the now passed times, drudged up once again by the song.
“This is the last song we recorded at RAK and it’s definitely my favorite. It sums the whole record up. I guess it’s inspired by mortality and memories of loved ones past and present. It also features my good friend John Coxon on piano and harmonica without whom I doubt the band would be where we are today. If it’s the last piece of music I ever make I’ll be happy,” said Burslem about the track.
It’s a record of a time. It’s a recording of a place. It gives memories life.
HURRY – BUY/PREORDER – YAK MUSIC