Yes, I'm Leaving: Pure Joy

Pure Joy is the fifth album in seven years for Sydney threepiece Yes I’m Leaving. It’s out, fittingly, on Black Wire Records, the label/store/venue which until its recent eviction had Yes I’m Leaving as a semi-permanent fixture bashing out noisy, sludgy rock in its cramped Parramatta Rd space. If Black Wire’s current homeless state is an unfortunate reminder of the transience of so much independent music infrastructure, a new album from Yes I’m Leaving is a welcome counterpoint that some things do manage to survive.

Pure Joy consists of mostly familiar ingredients for those accustomed to Yes I’m Leaving – pummelling drum beats, heavy bass and noisy, sometimes discordant guitar as well as Billy Burke’s anguished yelling. When applied to what are essentially fairly standard pop chord progressions, it gives us something distinctively Yes I’m Leaving.

A good example would be the title track. The song’s guitar-only intro and verses are almost poppy, the lyrics seemingly a parody of happy pop songs. You could pick it out as a potential radio hit except for when you step back and remember the overall heaviness, squalling guitar and weird sci-fi solo that makes this sound nothing like anything you would usually call pop music.

The other signature Yes I’m Leaving effect is the lurching shifts in rhythm best exemplified in Down By The Sea;­ made even more enjoyable there by the the tension and release effect of an extended holding onto one chord. This is nothing new to the Yes I’m Leaving fan, but for the pure visceral thrill it’s hard to beat.

Having said that, the album does seem to rush through in a bit of a blur – eleven songs in thirty-one minutes all at a pretty brisk tempo. The slow sludgy verses of Feature provide some variety, but even it speeds up by the end to fit in. There are probably fewer instantly memorable tracks than on some of the earlier Yes I’m Leaving releases where some monstrous riff emerges startlingly out of the swamp. The one chord noise freakout that ends the album is most likely just an improvised jam, but I personally think the album could have done with some more moments like that to break it up.

Overall, Pure Joy is another quality Yes I’m Leaving release, one that I’m sure will truly come to life in their powerful live show. It fits nicely into their own niche they have ground out in Australian music – walking the line somewhere between classic rock and pure sludge.

- Andy Paine.

Album Details

Album Title: Pure Joy
Artist: Yes, I'm Leaving
Record Label: (Black Wire)