Pre-Order. Released 1st March, via Island
, Where’s My Utopia? is the follow up to the Leeds band’s critically-acclaimed debut record The Overload which arrived in January 2022. The Overload was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize after a slew of positive reviews, national radio playlistings and a placing at #2 in the Official Charts. The new album is a co-production between Yard Act and Gorillaz member Remi Kabaka Jr. ‘Dream Job’s video was directed by James Slater, the band and director’s 7th collaboration (“with many more to come”).
Speaking about ‘Dream Job’, Yard Act’s James Smith said: “‘Dream Job’ feels like an apt introduction to the themes explored on Where's My Utopia? - though not all encompassing. In part I was scrutinising and mocking myself for being a moaning ungrateful little brat, whilst also trying to address how the music industry is this rather uncontrollable beast that hurtles forward unthinkingly and every single person involved in it plays their part. Myself included, obviously. As with pretty much everything else going through my head last year, trying to find the right time to articulate the complexity of emotions I was feeling and the severity to which I was feeling them couldn't be found - or accommodated, so instead I tried to capture it in a pop song that lasts less than three minutes once the fog had cleared a bit. It’s good and bad. I'm still glad that everything that happened to me happened.”
Earlier this year, Yard Act delivered an unprecedented five night residency at their hometown’s Brudenell Social Club which was awarded four stars each in reviews from Rolling Stone UK, The Telegraph, and The Times. The band were joined by a stellar lineup of comedians; Phill Jupitus, Nish Kumar, Lolly Adefope, and Harry Hill. Yard Act also made their festival headline bow at Dot To Dot in Bristol & Nottingham, performed at Primavera (Barcelona, Madrid & Porto) and played their maiden shows in Australia and New Zealand, truly making their mark on the global stage in 2023.
What do you do when everything you’ve ever wanted suddenly lands in your lap, but the questions still keep on coming?
Since first steering their golden Rover into swift public acclaim back in 2020, Leeds quartet Yard Act have become one of the great indie success stories of the decade so far. Along the way, they’ve ticked off milestones ranging from a Number Two chart placing and Mercury Prize nomination for debut album The Overload, to a co-sign from Elton John who joined the band to guest on a string-laden reworking of album closer ‘100% Endurance’.
Yet, whilst the band’s trajectory continuously shot upwards, vocalist James Smith and his wife had also welcomed in a son. And it’s this duelling sense of responsibility and ambition, guilt, love, drive and everything in between that forms the narrative backbone of brilliantly exploratory second album Where’s My Utopia?
Written in snapshots of time between a relentless touring schedule, and produced jointly by the band and Gorillaz’ Remi Kabaka Jr, the quartet’s second act is a giant leap forward into broad and playful new sonic waters. “The main reason that ‘post-punk’ was the vehicle for Album One was because it was really affordable to do, but we always liked so much other music and this time we've had the confidence to embrace it,” James explains. Across the record, influences ranging from Fela Kuti to Ennio Moricone via Spiller’s ‘00s pop smash ‘Groovejet’ make themselves known.
It’s a celebratory palette upon which Smith allowed himself to reach lyrically deeper into himself than ever. Gone, largely, are the outward-facing character studies of yore, replaced with a set of songs that stare fully into the headlights of life, wrangling with the frontman’s own fears and foibles to create a sort of Promethean narrative - but with jokes. “You can commit to the idea that we’re just animals who eat and fuck and then we die, and that’s fine,” he suggests. “But for me, creativity always seems to be the best way of articulating the absolute minefield of what human existence is.”
Available on limited indies-only yellow vinyl, with sticker set, or limited maroon coloured vinyl