When Not Squares drunkenly decided in 2008 that Belfast was in much need of a party band, it’s probably fair to say that even they didn’t quite know how it was going to turn out. In a short space of time, they not only lost a member but adopted a different sound, finally producing the thrash-dance mish-mash that is Yeah Ok.
Immediately, we’re thrust into the blip dots of ‘Release the Bees’, a cascade of stop-start sonic sequences, droned vocals and jungle calls. As fiercely exciting as anything from their more well-known electronic compatriots, this seven minute dance epic sets the tone for an album which offers much in the way of synthy, techno-tinged beats. Warm, spiky synth cocoons cavernous vocals in the off-kilter rhythms of ‘De Na Na’ while ‘In Front’ is a fast-paced number, like a modern take on an ’80s arcade game soundtrack.
But it would be foolish to think that this is all the album has to offer. There are hints of the trio’s previous lives in more “straight-forward” rock bands in the catchy bass-driven ‘Asylum’, and ‘Smith & Carlos’ is an electro-chill out after the ferocious pace of the preceding song.
Seven songs in however, and ‘Yeah!’ feels a tad like formulaic filler but although the final songs are less hard-hitting than the first lot, there’s still plenty of joy in the crushing frequency shifts of ‘Bi Kan Na’. Finishing with ‘53’, melodic and relaxed where the stomping album opener was piercing and intense, the album ends on a chilled high.
More than just a local triumph, it’s a solid piece of work that could go up against others of the same ilk – Soulwax, Simian Mobile Disco or Chk Chk Chk – and if not win, at least fight its corner with a spunky, vibrant sense of defiance. A sonic rollercoaster of fast, intense beats and soft rhythmic bass, Yeah OK proves that Not Squares are more than just a boozy party band; this intelligent trio deserve all the hype and more.