Robert Bryn, frontman of Brooklyn four-piece Wild Yaks, once predictably described his band as wild animals with big horns the wild yak kind, not the brass; its all guitar on Million Years, their latest LP. Its still a spot-on descriptor, and here are some more: Almost every lyric on Million Years is shouted by the whole band in unison, all-out joyful is pretty much the only mode they know how to operate in, and they repeatedly sing a womans first name on two consecutive songs, Felice and Anabelle. Million Years is obviously a fun record, but is it not to be taken seriously?
Rest assured, Wild Yaks dont stop to dwell on that question for a second, and end up answering it. Bryns band sounds like theyve never had more fun in their lives, and theyre dead serious about it. While their endorphin-loaded sound isnt unprecedented, they manage to draw from all the most overwhelmingly positive aspects of their musical kin: the towering, almost exclusively major-key compositions of Fang Island, the party-as-religion philosophy of Andrew WK, and the gritty psychedelia of Roky Erickson, whose Youre Gonna Miss Me leaves fingerprints on Other Men and Golden Door.
Million Years opens with its title track and the words Now that Im a million years old / Ive seen the past and future turn so many times. Then, the songs tempo takes a sudden turn upward for the first time of many throughout the album. They continue, All my friends are dead / I aint never had no friends. Keep in mind, this is a band that’s endured a breakup and still has double-digit followers on Twitter. Bryn’s words are a bummer on paper, but Wild Yaks take their inherent negativity and churn it into an extreme appreciation for life that emerges from being stripped of almost everything else: youth, relationships, and relevance. And if theres anything they irrefutably prove with that ethos on Million Years, its this: Never underestimate a band of aging friends with nothing to lose.
Essential Tracks: “Last Tears of the Night”, “Angel Eyes”, and “A Million Years”