Words by Zoe Spencer
Introspective and melancholic, the EP “Fall” from London based The Yacht Club, is deeply cathartic – the musical equivalent of grabbing a quilt, taking the phone off the hook and having a damn good cry.
Written in just a month by Marcus Gooda, and a change in pace from previous more toe-tapping releases, the record is full of emotion but also some very skilful composing, with band members pitching in in all areas, showing what a versatile lot they are.
Gooda’s vocals have a clarity that sits above the music akin to Death Cab for Cutie or Stephen Fretwell, but are very ably complemented with the multi-layering of instruments that is faintly reminiscent of Jose Gonzales’ Heartbeats or an unplugged Zero 7.
If you like your hearts bleeding but your music lovely, you won’t be disappointed.
Mouth of the Beast
The EP opens with Mouth of the Beast; arguably the most accomplished and rounded track on the EP. Lush layers that grow and swell and ebb with the gorgeous pulse of the drums, the subtle, only just there, harmonies and delicate acoustic guitar.
Afraid of the Dark
Slower and with less peaks and troughs than Mouth of the Beast, Afraid of the Dark is lulling and melancholic; the lack of drums, and lingering guitars and piano combined with the resonant vocals give the whole track an ethereal feel.
Be Happy and Love
The most stripped back of the songs of the EP, the opening phrases and lyrics bring home that this is a very personal record. On first listen, it was so personal they had me wanting to “look away”, there is something about putting names into songs that makes it harder to lose yourself in the music – how can you pretend this song is speaking to you, about you, if you don’t know a “Jessie” or a “Kathryn?” It was the musical equivalent of watching a stranger cry over a carton of milk in the supermarket – uncomfortable but strangely fascinating – however it is this kind of emotional nakedness that carries the rest of the EP through. They are making an art form of fragility and discomfort so to complain that an emo record is “too much” seems beside the point. That said, when the naivety of the vocal is teamed with the sophistication of beautiful piano accents and finger picked guitar, it becomes a more lovely thing.
Put Your Life in a Box
The final track is atmospheric and intimate. The lyrics drip with metaphor and analogy but the musical interludes have just as much to say – haunting and moody. The backing vocals in particular are beautifully done. Fans of Joanna Newsome’s chilling lilting guitar will find a lot to like here.
The Yacht Club’s newest offering is well worth a listen, and a wallow in the sadness.
Release date 25th November 2016 – you can buy the cassette here.
Marcus Gooda: Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Alexander Esp: Drums, Keyboards, Piano, Percussion
Sam Rose: Guitar Jack Holland: Backing Vocals