Cultus by YardsssRelease date: September 11, 2020
Having already covered Yardsss’ Granfalloons a million years before lockdown, I thought I’d take a whack at their new release Cultus. The previous release, I thought was really fucking good and have since listened to it many times. So I’m really intrigued to delve into this and see what it has to offer. This is quite a short album, with three self-titled tracks, the last one triple in size and it totals at shortly over 35 minutes. So not far off being an EP. With that in mind, I’m going to simply say what I like about each track and then summarise for you.
My first impression of the first track is that it feels familiar to me, as someone who started listening to post-rock at about 14 years old, any slow-burning instrumental stuff released now is probably going to strongly remind me of something from over ten years ago. I like the atmosphere building, there’s a building sense of awe and wonder like a lot of post-rock stuff where you’d walk through nature and listen to This Will Destroy You or Mogwai or whatever and look at the mountains and think it was brilliant. The playing on the first track is really great but, I’m way too conditioned for massive crescendos at this point to really enjoy the meagre pay off at the end of the song. It’s not bad, but it was a bit underwhelming. I definitely felt like they could have really pushed the boat out at the end there. Maybe they’re teasing the listener for a big pay off on track two or maybe three?
‘Cultus II’ starts with what I like to call “the psych beat”. This kind of pulsating, building rhythm that we’ve seen a lot of over the years from Rocket Recordings bands. As well as the likes of K-X-P and The Oh Sees et cetera. It’s also got a kind of familiar krautrock guitar line that is typical of the genre as well. I guess what really strikes me about this album so far is that the musicians playing are obviously really good at their instruments but, it feels like the tracks aren’t finished. There’s a lot of space for further layers on the first two tracks, more the second track and structurally it seems to build up and then just fizzle out and I don’t really understand why they would end songs like that because it’s just a bit underwhelming. Considering how amazingly well fleshed-out Granfalloons was, I just can’t understand why this seems so comparatively ill-considered. I guess it must be because the last track is the pay off?
The final track does a good job of building itself up slowly, around the 5-minute mark there’s some really great drumming and interesting guitar work, there are still moments when I think it could be more unique but, my first impression of the song is that tracks 1 and 2 were not necessary to accompany this significantly more enrapturing piece of music. There is a very unexpected kind of math-rock section in here with amazing drumming. Whoever is playing is seriously fucking amazing, the fills are so rapid, really awesome. Some of the guitar licks in this middle section are pretty cool as well.
I found the slow burning decline into the end to be a bit too far dragged out though. Maybe it’s better experienced live, but I kind of feel like these guys should listen to some Yuri Gagarin and early-GNOD whilst in the direction because personally, I just don’t really get the pacing and the song-writing decisions. I really like the outro guitar though and I would say that everything they’ve done on this album is done well. Unfortunately, I honestly feel like they could’ve done a lot more, in terms of crescendos, pacing, top-line melody and generally padding out the mix with texture and harmonies and an overall, wider timbre. Compared to the alien artefact that was Granfalloons this felt generic and underdeveloped. If they’d just added some vocals and synths this would be far more engrossing, but still not as utterly singular as the aforementioned banger of an album.