Rob Galloway and band, The Yalla Yallas have a bit of a reputation on the West Yorkshire music scene, a reputation that is, quite rightly, spreading. They recently blew the Brudenell Social Club apart with an incendiary performance supporting Penetration. The gig featured a number of previously unreleased songs giving a taster of what was to come on this, The Yalla Yallas fourth album. Since their 2009 debut ‘Act OF Defiance’, through 2010’s ‘Diamond In Dirt’ and 2017’s ‘Medusa’ Galloway’s songwriting has moved on from an all out punk rock assault full of slashing guitars and lyrics yelled with pure fury. Yes, there’s always been moments that deviate from this format – ‘Death Shoes’, the wonderful, blues tinged ‘Better Off With Nothing’ and ‘Mi Corazon Pt.2’ being favourites.
Album number four, ‘Outsider’, is their most adventurous and best yet. Retaining the passion and anger that the best punk rock can offer ‘Outsider’ cleverly incorporates other genres into it’s grooves. From Galloway wearing his heart on his sleeve and the hint of gospel in ‘Walking In The Rain’, the rock ‘n’roll vibe of ‘Blackpool (Feeling So Alive)’, ‘Murder Baby’ and ‘Devil’ and the simply wonderful country punk (if there’s such a thing) of single ‘Somewhere Anywhere’. The Yalla Yallas as we know them are still here – recent single ‘Problems’ together with ‘Borrowed Heart’ are full of those slicing guitars courtesy of Will Grinder and rolling drums. If these don’t make you jump around your living room then nothing will. The addition of saxophone takes ‘Murder, Baby’ and ‘Devil’ to whole new levels. Not only sax but there’s also banjo and piano. This album flows and part of it’s beauty lies in the subtle changes from song to song. There’s nothing predictable here. Whilst tempo and atmosphere shifts from track to track throughout it all Galloways lyrics focus not on the niceties of life but on gut feelings and realities. Who can’t relate to lines such as “I’m stood at the crossroads, I’m just another lost soul”, “I don’t wanna be perfect, I just wanna be human.” “Everybody’s got someone to love, Everybody’s got something to lose, Everybody’s got a heart to bruise, Except me, I got nothing”. Galloway lets his emotions run riot yet focus on the music and ‘Outsider’ is nothing but uplifting, carrying you along on a wave of euphoria so that you find yourself singing, tapping out the beats and ultimately desperate to dance.
I read a review somewhere that said ‘Medusa’ was possibly the bands watershed. ‘Outsider’ betters this and will, without doubt, be one of my favourite albums of 2019.
‘Outsider’ will be released on all streaming platforms on June 21st with cd and vinyl issues also released mid-June.
The Yalla Yallas website is here.
The Yalla Yallas on Facebook here.
Review and promo photos by Steve White