Yakul – Patterns, Brighton – 9th May 2018

Photo by Ben Walker

A home-grown act not quite like any other that can be found in the city today, Brighton’s very own Yakul are one group beginning to make some serious waves. Tonight, in celebration of the release of their latest single ‘Realigned’, Yakul make it their task to prove to this audience why they are such an intriguing name to watch.

In short, tonight was a pure demonstration of incredible talent from start to finish. Chloé Bodur opens the evening with a set of powerful lounge beats with incredibly intricate lyricism, bringing the initial spark that lit the fire of the evening. The Isle Of CC soon took over and truly burst the venue into a fully fledged flame, the band’s usage of three-piece harmonies and an incredibly powerful soul sound was simply bursting to the brim with charisma and vibrance and was laced throughout with untethered levels of emotion. Both supports sounded phenomenal for a smaller sized venue and it could only be imagined that on a bigger stage, both would sound even more awe-inspiring.

With such a perfect introduction beforehand, Yakul enter the stage, but one thing immediately surprises and sparks interest. Whilst the group consider themselves a trio, at tonight’s show they have suddenly become an eight-piece. Almost immediately though, this decision produces one of the most incredible sounds Patterns has ever heard. The brilliant combination of the group’s typical electro-soul setup was magnified ten fold by the fantastic addition of both a brass selection and the fantastic addition of backing harmonies from Sylvia Sanchez and Scarlett Fletcher. With vocalist/keyboardist James Berkeley at the helm, the band are each able to bring their own flare to the performance, whilst James utilises his simply blissful tones to guide each track, bringing a terrific level of control, variance and emotion in one complete package.

The band’s style of self proclaimed ‘future soul’ is more than visible and is capable of injecting the perfect level of upbeat pacing with simultaneous melody that gets the audience gleefully bouncing and swaying along. The single ‘Bad Karma’ makes a welcomed appearance and allows James to place a spotlight on his vocal capabilities, meanwhile others, such as the soon to be released ‘Samsara’, undergo the exact opposite and allow for all of the other members of the group to equally demonstrate their talents. The brass solos from Tommy Peach and Ollie Cummings add such a unique spark to the night that few live bands are able to achieve, and receive an incredible response from the audience. Likewise, when Sylvia and Scarlett are given time to demonstrate their own voices, they are truly a powerhouse force to be reckoned with.

Once the debut showing of ‘Realigned’ is brought forth, it certainly doesn’t disappoint: the track is silky, smooth and delivers on almost everything that Yakul promise. The shifting blend of a chilled jazz vibe into a full burst of colourful crescendo is smooth, precise and brings the very best of the band’s sound to light. The venue’s stream of backlit neon lights dance along with the track’s mood and really add an additional level of texture to the show which was a small, but incredibly effective, detail.

It is clear from not only the audience interaction tonight, but the smiles on the band’s faces, that this has been a pure expression of passion for the wonders of sound. It is shows like this which make a band forever memorable, whilst the logistics of running an eight-piece band must be nightmarish, the addition of the other members has sent Yakul’s sound to incredible heights. James’ songwriting abilities are simply fantastic and his delivery is truly other worldly. If you’re ever looking for a feel good pick me up, Yakul are a phenomenal band who I would urge anyone to get down to see as soon as they can.

Ben Walker

Facebook: facebook.com/yakulband
Twitter: twitter.com/yakulband