Yard Act have shared ‘When the Laughter Stops’, the Katy J Pearson collaboration that appears on their upcoming album Where My Utopia? – out March 1 via Island. It comes with a music video directed by James Slater, who also helmed the videos for previous singles ‘Dream Job’, ‘Petroleum’, and ‘We Make Hits’. Check it out below.
“The sentiment of the lyrics gets to the heart of Where’s My Utopia? almost immediately, and finds the cynicism first spawned from the same circumstance I found myself in during ‘Dream Job’ now giving way to a more genuine sliver of misery,” the band’s James Smith explained in a statement. “Fortunately – spoiler alert – I’ve managed to find a way out of this pit, for the time being.”
Whilst the lyrics came quick, musically it went through the wringer. As is often the case when Ryan presents a bass line, harmonically it’s pretty ambiguous and we all hear things differently. I was hearing the song in a pretty bluesy, minor key, whilst Sam [guitarist] heard a very saccharine and sweet major key tune. The song pedalled back and forth, we talked about ‘Lovefool’ by The Cardigans quite a lot if I remember correctly. During a recording session in Kettering with Russ Russell at Parlour Studios in December 2022, I was fucking about on a Roland Juno with the arpeggiator whirring away over the end. Ryan flipped the rate so it went half time and all of a sudden the eeriness of the track made sense; it sounded like some John Carpenter doomsday clock countdown or something. Sam reworked the guitars to sound like ‘High Voltage; by Electric Six and we stripped away the funkier percussion and made the rhythm more aggressive, like ‘Seven Nation Army’. Katy came to meet us at Metropolis in London to dub the chorus vocals and it gave the whole track a huge lift I’ll never have the voice for. She’s fantastic. I asked David Thewlis to recite Macbeth over the end for obvious reasons. The results speak for themselves!
Discussing the video, Slater commented: “This video continues the journey of The Visitor and follows on from ‘Petroleum’, in which we saw her get dragged off by a couple of hitmen. ‘When The Laughter Stops’ reveals her fate… a prison full of old circus performers. Security is admittedly a little loose so all may not be lost. The videos we’ve made have all been part of a wider Yard Act cinematic universe and we’re in the process of turning the whole thing into a movie. Watch this space.”