London four piece The Yacht Club are a hard band to describe musically. Their sound is something of a primordial melting pot, with elements of shoegaze, alt-rock, old school emo (think early Jimmy Eat World) and touches of Menzingers-esque Americana all present in the makeup.
Combining all these varying styles into a coherent album is no mean feat, but The Yacht Club have managed it with aplomb on their debut The Last Words That You Said To Me Have Kept Me Here And Safe. The album is an extremely personal one, that tells the true story of the band dealing with the suicide of a friend, and coming to terms with what happened and all the emotions that go along with such tragic events.
The opening Be Happy And Love Pt2 lyrically describes how life still goes on all around you, in spite of any loss suffered and what you have to try to mentally and emotionally digest in the process. The soft instrumentation is set at just the right level to complement vocalist Marcus Gooda’s storytelling.
The standout moment of the The Last Words That You Said To Me Have Kept Me Here And Safe is the album’s first single Heigham Park. It’s a song that on the surface is enjoyable, but on subsequent listens, when you truly pay attention to the words how utterly heartbreaking it is and how it will resonate to anyone who has lost a family member or friend for any reason.
It’s such a standout moment that one might think the rest of the album could go past without other tracks of note but this is far from the case. Glue has a quiet, ethereal quality about it thanks to it’s haunting main riff while the jangly guitarwork and multiple tempo changes in Get Your Damn Hands Off Her! makes the track that could have listeners reaching for the repeat button.
Sharing guitar duties for the band, Jack Holland takes over main vocal duties from Marcus for In Amber, another track that will hit the listener with the emotion of the lyrics, albeit not quite on the same level as Heigham Park. The same could be said for Broken Things which has some nice touches, particularly its extended outro. The album is concluded with Be Happy And Love Pt3, which is both a compliment and a counterpart to the album’s opener of the same name (Pt 2). Pt3 smartly re-uses some of the instrumentation from Pt2, while turning the subject matter somewhat on it’s head – taking a more positive approach than the introspective outlook of Pt2. Ending on the message contained within the title of both tracks, simply “Be Happy and Love”, it’s a fitting end to an emotional musical journey.
While they’re not always quite able to maintain the highs throughout the album (and the highs are at a great height), The Yacht Club can be very proud of what they’ve achieved with The Last Words That You Said To Me Have Kept Me Here And Safe. It’s a highly fitting tribute to their lost friend, and an accomplished debut album release. It’ll be very interesting to see where they go from here.
The Last Words That You Said To Me Have Kept Me Here And Safe is released Friday 25th January 2019 on Beth Shalom Records.