Yard Arms "Sanctuary Lines" Review
Melancholic indie-pop duo Yard Arms released their third EP “Sanctuary Lines” on the 26th June. The Bristol-based group, consisting of Noah Villenueve and Billy Golding, have once again showcased their gift for sincerely personal writing that captures our hearts and moves our bodies.
Frontman and lyricist Noah Villenueve delivers words of poignant transparency, driven by captivating melody and soaked in new-wave glory. Channelling a Robert Smith-esque expressiveness and blending it with his own effortless range, Villenueve sets up camp for a melancholic, profound and in some spots quite theatrical landscape; and “Sanctuary Lines” reaps the rewards of this. The EP was recorded, mixed and mastered with Josh Gallop (Phoxjaw) at Stage 2 Studios, Bath, and its flawless production really helps set Yard Arms apart from your run-of-the-mill alt-indie bands.
"Sanctuary Lines" Cover Art
The duo’s latest EP kicks off wonderfully with “Mantra”, a nostalgic anthem with an irresistible hook. Yard Arms have offered us a fresh serving of summer hits throughout the EP, but the first song on the track listing is the pinnacle of this - undeniably the perfect soundtrack to your garden parties. Villenueve takes us on a journey of stirring reflection, accompanied by an ever-expanding body of indie-rock harmony which is full of character and zeal. “Mantra” makes use of Yard Arms’ impeccable knack for unforgettable melodies and riffs, creating a musically playful take on their wistful romanticism.
Within the EP, Yard Arms have lyrically delved into many multi-faceted, complex themes. “Silicone Crowd” is a perfect example of Villenueve’s honest and open storytelling. One of the more sentimental tracks on “Sanctuary Lines”, there is a sense of longing and an appetite for release and forgiveness that weaves its way through the bounce of pounding drums and persistent bassline. The repeat of the simple and effective instrumental hook seems to personify this release and relief that the rest of the track yearns for. There is a perfect amount of tension to freedom and dark to light in “Silicone Crowd” - a song shaped as real life.
Yard Arms have not only created a brilliantly weighty atmosphere throughout the EP; they also seem to have predicted the future with “These Four Walls”. One of their heavier commentaries on humanity, the song was originally written by Villenueve about yearning for “honeymoon periods” in life. Now, as we live through a global pandemic, lyrics such as “these four walls make us feel so small” mirrors the most frustrating and complex moments of life in lockdown. Villenueve’s voice soars over unapologetically post-rock magnetism, showcasing his range of both notes and emotions in this definite emo anthem.
“Sanctuary Lines” ends with “Fables” - an intensely moving ballad which perfectly contrasts the duo’s many summer hits. What starts off as a downtempo indie guitar lullaby transforms into a massive soundscape of overwhelming power, with the perfect amount of grit and restraint. The closing line of the EP crescendos into an immense chant, signalling both desperation and delivery - “when will we find our solace and our sanctuary lines?”.
“Sanctuary Lines” by Yard Arms is out on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music and YouTube now. Follow them online here: