Brighton might be known as ‘London-by-the-sea’ but it probably has a better music scene for its size than the capital. It’s pretty easy to bump into people who are coming up with fresh ideas and that’s a major thing that we love about this place. We were therefore a little surprised that it took the medium of Facebook to bring Yaaks to our attention. Especially considering one of their members, Thom, is a friend of The Recommender’s and has DJ’d alongside our residents, Battery Powered, in the past. Our bad.
Delving a little deeper we discover why Yaaks haven’t yet been shouting about themselves. For one they’re very new. Their myspace is intentionally bare offering the most basic (and cryptic) information: “Yaaks are six minds playing music to best portray the thoughts of Jean Jacques Rousseau“. They list their location, Eastbourne, (a few miles East of Brighton), the tag line “Allez.Allez.” and a few blurry, kaleidoscopic images upon their page.
We spoke to Thom about his new band, only to find him being equally as coy in person. What we do know is that he used to drum in the (now defunct-) band Your Friends Are Architects, who also called Eastbourne home. We have to suspect that Yaaks now includes a few of YFAA’s former members on it’s books. It’s been noted that Thom also produces a whole range of warm, shuffling 2-step under his alias, Leon. One thing he did clarify is that “we say the band consists of ‘six minds’, because our personalities dont have anything to do with our music” and whilst influences from his other projects our clearly evident, we’d be inclined to agree.
Fortunately, the music really does speak for itself. Despite only officially having two tracks (and half a demo) Yaaks have already got us hooked. Both songs featured below seep into existence with a sombre, Blade Runner-style soundscapes, with the track, ‘HRHRHYTHM’, sparking things into life nicely. The tight tropical percussion is littered with bongo rolls, wood blocks and steel drums, which patter away behind loose washes of synth, reverb-drenched vocals and jangling guitars. Their other tune, ‘BRKLYN FIG 1′, on the other hand, explodes in shimmering technicolour with delightful flourishes of brass and echoing twangs of guitar, counterpointing furious, muted strums from a casual bass line.
The hidden identity method has been thoroughly overplayed with bands and DJs in the last few years but Yaaks sidestep this issue by openly admitting that they’re not hiding behind anything. They just don’t have anything to give away except their music and we’re quite happy to accept that. Even though it’s still early days for the band, Yaaks have created a truly astonishing blend of dreamy, tropical rhythms that are simultaneously dance-friendly and thoughtful. We’re not the only ones to think this either, as rumour has it they’re in talks with at least one record label for a contract, so keep your eyes peeled for a release in the not too distant future. (MA)