The Leeds post-punks make spiky music that’s also warm and funny. ‘We can’t eradicate misery and depression,’ says frontman James Smith

There are few couplets in pop that capture modern life’s seesaw between cynicism and hope as well as this choice gem near the end of The Overload, the forthcoming debut album from Leeds group Yard Act: “It’s all so pointless / Ah, but it’s not though, is it?” The line bares the soft underbelly of a band whose bleakly hilarious post-punk clatter channels the interior monologues of some of the country’s very worst bigots and bores, before finding unexpected humanity within them. A band who have won comparison to such caustic mavericks as Fontaines DC and Sleaford Mods, at the same time as finding themselves unlikely residents of the Radio 1 playlist and the record collection of one Elton John, who declared himself a fan in a Guardian interview.

“I’m an optimist,” insists James Smith, Yard Act’s gangly, garrulous frontman, Zooming from his Leeds bedroom and fussing with his mop of mousey hair. He knows a perverse variant of luck is on his side right now. Yard Act were a late-career roll of the dice after his previous band of nine years, Post War Glamour Girls, splintered. Then, almost as soon as Yard Act formed, Covid surfaced and venues shuttered. Still they have thrived against all odds.

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