Yakbone - Silence In The Victorian Cellar (Closer Still)

Long-time-coming debut record from Yakbone. Worth the wait.

Released Feb 20th, 2011 via Closer Still Records / By Clementine Lloyd
Yakbone - Silence In The Victorian Cellar (Closer Still) An amalgam of 5 years work, stretching through 11 tracks feeding into one another, strengthening each track like vertebrae, this debut is a somber affair for Yakbone. This isn’t a negative turn of phrase. The calm delivery and found sounds littering the album housing this ulterior life creates a latent energy, almost otherworldly.

‘Orange’ is jarring in its set-up, peals of dramatic organ keys rent the air, whilst light pattering chimes hover, colliding with the synthetic wind howling throughout. These moments of unrest act as breakers, tainting the serenity with suspicion, perhaps caution, ‘Song To Nowhere Part II’ beating with a thunderous tremor, rendering movement incomprehensible whilst pulsating from within, feeding into the treacherous ‘Kiss Fur’, purring noises morph into chalk down a blackboard. ‘Shallow Shallow’ intensifies these elements as its invasive quality betrays a wealth of tumultuous sounds eking into on another as your head spins with confusion.

As atmospheric mind-melters, more fraught tracks like these are rendered more mystifying and unnerving by what comes before and after, as the rural feel of title track ‘Silence In The Victorian Cellar’ is twisted by strains of a didgeridoo and organ, folded into the lilting acoustic riff and hollow noises of insects and bottles clinking. An energy seeps in through the walls, affecting an actual cellar in the mind as the echoes and muted tones appear to come from another room. ‘Comfort’ and ‘Plastic Flowers From Kemble’ exemplify a more timorous effort, softer with longer chords from the organ setting up a patchwork quilt that muffles the melodic patterns, calming the mind. It is also worth noting ‘Plastic Flowers…’ buzzes with more suppressed energy than the former, awash as it is with bubbling bass.

‘Song To Nowhere’, the softer counterpart of ‘…Part II’, proves fitting to the title as the pace speeds up, slows down and stops, (lather, rinse, repeat), in turn becoming a more melodic affair, again hitting on the rural elements, naturalistic in its more ‘outdoorsy’ feel. ‘Wooden Beast’ though enhanced by this elemental feature, is hardened somewhat by the tapped acoustic strings, which intones a broken tumult, before becomming serene once more. ‘Broken Fly’, like ‘Country Hallway’ owns more strength and power through the brittle keys and underlying organic melody. The two tracks indeed serve more to strengthen the other tracks, lending a stiffness that is not as overbearing as the darker tracks, and yet grounding the lighter tunes.

Everything about the album, and its creator, gives very little away. The sparse artwork depicting a sepia toned flock of seated school children befits the Cellar within which this record plays out. The long years spent coming into being has lent a depth to its entirety. Yakbone is an auteur that has the maturity to see the power in stepping back, handing over the reigns of control and giving freedom to your creation, and the listener.