The wonderfully named Wild Yaks have a live album coming out on July 16th through a joint effort between Open Ocean and the Ernest Jenning Record Company in a limited run of 500 LPs, or a digital copy that can be pre-ordered at https://wildwildyaks.bandcamp.com.
If you’re lucky enough to be near Rockaway Beach on July 17th there will be an album release party at the same punk-rock-beach-burger-joint Rippers that the initial album was recorded simply titled, Wild Yaks Live at Rippers.
The Wild Yaks, at least I read somewhere, call themselves a punk rock band. Who am I to argue? So, here’s the thing. I think that when most people hear the term punk, they automatically jump to what the uneducated have deemed traditional punk. The Ramones and Green Day come to mind. That is not all that punk is.
In the early days of punk, let’s say 1977, and venues like CBGB’s etc. the only things that connected bands like The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, Television was the local proximity of these bands. They all had their own sound and style. This was an important development for New York bands (Wild Yaks are from Brooklyn). None were clones of each other.
As time went on The Ramones seemed to carry the blueprint for many, many of the punk bands that followed, case in point what a lot of the world considerers punk. Of course, they are many punk bands that don’t care about what the public at large calls punk, or what it should sound like, but this is not their story.
To me, true punk does not care about being like everything else, and the quality of a true punk band is doing whatever you want regardless if it fits in a nice little box or not. The Wild Yaks are ones of these punk bands.
Live at Rippers is a perfect example of high-energy, and a musical recklessness that does not come along every day. You can hear it in the band’s music, as well as the crowd’s enthusiasm, that this is a band that is having a great time, and it bleeds straight into the faithful at Rippers.
The Wild Yaks are composed of Jose Aybar (bass), Patsy Carroll (guitar), Giovanni Kincade (Farfisa) it’s a keyborad, Matt Walsh (guitar) and founding members drummer/vocalist Martin Cartagena, as well as singer/guitarist Rob Bryn. Although, Bryn is listed as the singer of the Yaks he’s not the only one doing the heavy lifting here. All six band members are singing/shouting at the top of their lungs to bring big a joyous vibe to the music.
“Million Years” kicks off the record, and right away I feel as though I’m getting a kind of oceany feeling when listening to this song. After some further investigation I find these lyrics:
Tie me to a rock at the bottom of a cliff/Next to the sea/Wave after wave after wave after wave/My brothers, they’re all sailors/It’s a salty sea, they call it bad weather.
It’s immediately infectious, and you can hear the crowd at Rippers feeling it too! Maybe it’s the delivery done by Bryn, and the gang like vocals behind him, but the first band that came to mind for me, as far as an influence maybe (?), was The Pogues. I mean that in the best way possible. That raw earthy sound of the sea chanty vocals mixed with the emotional music that is not a far cry from Springsteen (when he’s stripped down and rocks), or The Gaslight Anthem. Either way, there is a rapture like sentiment throughout as though you’re arm an arm with a complete, with a cold mug in your free hand, swaying back and forth as you are sailing the seven seas.
“What Does My Love?” starts with a keyboard intro that is something else that separates the Wild Yaks from the rest of the punk crowd, and then lo and behold! there is an actual guitar solo on the track. Awesome!
I apologize that I couldn’t find the lyrics to the song, or any of the others, so I won’t try to dissect the lyrics and come up short. Just listen and take the songs at face value. Great cuts all the way around.
This record just does not lose any steam. By the time “Tomahawk,” the closest thing that would be deemed traditional punk clocking in at 1:01, comes blaring out of the speaker the band is firing like a red-hot canon. You can feel the heat, taste the beer, and smell the sweet fragrance of sweat, that we all need to emote at this point in the world’s history.
Just when I think that’s it and I can rest a little, the band hits with “River May Come,” and then “Last Tears of The Night.” This is the musical equivalent of a jab to the body and a right cross to the jaw. I know I said this somewhere, and I try hard not to be redundant, but I can only say two words: High-Energy! Does a hyphenated word make two words? Either or, this band will battery power your iPhone for a year.
The record’s closer “Blood Red Fields,” leave you panting, and wanting more. By the time this song is finished up, you feel as though you are as part of the drunken euphoria as all those lucky patrons in attendance were.
Article: Carmine Basilicata