Some people might want to put Leeds band the Yalla Yallas simply into the punk genre, well that might be true in part, but they are so much more than that. The Yalla Yallas are in a zone akin to the Clash after their 1977 debut album and they have developed their sound immensely since their first album, 2009’s ‘Act Of Defiance’. The Yalla Yallas sound draws on some great influences; punk, good time rock ‘n’ roll, blues, gospel, and Iggy Pop to name just a few. The band is about to drop ‘Outsider’ their fourth album onto the world and the world needs to be ready. This is an eclectically brilliant collection of great songs. Fans of the band will already be aware of perhaps the punkiest track on the album, “Problems” which would fit in well on any UK 1970s punk collection, this was the first single. It was followed by “Somewhere, Anywhere” which is a rollicking romp which is reminiscent of the Levellers and perhaps the Wildhearts. Whatever it might remind you of, it will not leave your head. The fade out chorale style multi-layered vocals and classy guitar soloing form an earworm of the highest order.
Meanwhile “Walking In The Rain” shows the band can perform in an exquisite ballad style just as well as the harder stuff. If you like your music with a Rockabilly flavour with the emphasis more on the Rock than the Billy, then you will love “Murder, Baby”. On top of that, it moves into lounge jazz territory with some great ivory tinkling from guest star Sam ‘King Zepha’ Thornton. The forthcoming third single “Run” opens the album and it has everything you need from a great rock song; rifftastic screaming axe-wielding from Will Grinder, a rhythm section that knows exactly how to drive a song and a stunning vocal performance from ace frontman Rob Galloway. I would defy anyone to listen to these songs and not want to dance and sing along, “Borrowed Heart” epitomises that feeling, although I have learnt that dancing around the room with wired headphones is not the most sensible thing to do! Grinder’s guitar work is once again exemplary here and Lewis Pugh’s drumming, which is great throughout, excels beyond this on “Borrowed Heart”. Sam ‘King Zepha’ Thornton’s saxophone lends the song an E Street Band vibe.
The production from Grant Henderson seems to capture the essence of a band that is enjoying themselves so much they make it sound effortless. I haven’t seen a transcript of the lyrics, but “Another Day In Hell” I think is about spending time in a bad relationship, and so many of us have been there, right? Does the Devil have all the best tunes as the saying goes? Not necessarily, but “Devil” is a perhaps one that ole Satan might like. I would love to see the track used in an episode of Fox TV’s ‘Lucifer’. I can imagine it pumping out of the sound system in Lucifer Morningstar’s night club, Lux. I usually have to play an album three or four times to get a feel for it before I form an opinion. But with ‘Outsider’ I simply knew it was bloody good after just one spin!
Photos are from World Downfall Photography