As anyone who’s experienced a Yak performance can tell you, things rarely go to plan. Or to put it more accurately, there isn’t a plan to start off with. Dispensing with setlists entirely, the trio rely on a unique alchemy of feral energy and weird telepathy to conjure up a force-twelve storm where anything from deranged live-wire blues, dreamlike psychedelia and sprawling prog wig-outs can get dashed against the rocks. You might only get half a song, you might get it three times, frontman Oli Burslem might hurl a guitar, organ and/or floor tom in your direction.

“Our thing is not like where most bands fail I think,” notes Burslem. “It’s not to go out there and just press play and do a song. It’s to try and rub two sticks together and get something happening. We try and make it a loose format where anytime you play a gig, anything can be anything.”

Coming just over a year since their debut single Hungry Heart was released – a period that saw their peerlessly thrilling gigs and an electrifying clutch of studio recordings earn Yak a reputation as the most exciting and talked about new act in the UK – the trio have channelled their ferocious live experience into an album which shows that underneath all the chaos and unpredictability lay a beating heart of great melodicism and a hyperactively eclectic and inventive approach to making music.

“I was trying to make it a slightly schitzo record that had all these different elements,” notes Burslem. “But had so much of everything that by the end it would all just be lost and everybody would be like, ‘What the fuck was that? I don’t know what that was, but I kind of enjoyed it.’”

While the wider world may have only been enjoying Yak for a number of months, the band have been brewing in the back of Burslem’s brain since he and childhood friend Andy Jones first started playing in a myriad of bands around the outskirts of Wolverhampton as teenagers. It wasn’t until the singer moved to London a few years ago to try and scratch a living buying and selling dead people’s belongings on an East London antiques stall, drawing Jones down with him and bumping into Kiwi drummer Elliot Rawson at a party that the sparks caught alight and Yak became a living, breathing, gigging and recording thing though. It’s the period from then on in that Burslem is trying to capture with Alas, Salvation.

Recorded with Pulp’s Steve Mackey, it’s a record that refuses to be pigeonholed or even sit still for more than half a verse. Constantly surprising and continually morphing into different sonic textures, it swerves and hurtles towards and around all manner of unexpected shifts, twists and left turns, Burslem’s synapses audibly fizzing as he crams as many ideas into the songs as they will take.

Recorded with the express purpose of being “really loud”, opener Victorious (National Anthem) sets the tone for the first half of the album by grabbing the listener by the earhole and delivering a barked, alternative-state-of-the-nation addresses via barrage of overloading guitars, barely pausing for breath before the two-pronged sonic attack of Hungry Heart and Use Somebody, the latter’s lean fuzz rock strut ending in a crescendo of feedback and squalling saxophones that make The Stooges’ Fun House sound like Acker Bilk.

Of course, it would be boring if the record was just one third-eye bruising aural assault after another. Tucked away on b-sides and the rare quiet(er) moments at gigs were tunes that showed Yak’s knack for gorgeous dream-pop melodies which have blossomed into something quite strange and beautiful on Alas, Salvation. The swooning, strung-out country strum of Roll Another emerges blinking from the wreckage recalling Skip Spence’s fried solo work before the angular collage of Curtain Twitcher boots the album into the outfield again. A song for which Burslem deliberately wound his bandmates up into a state of near fury to achieve the required level of intensity for the performance. “Everyone got really fucked off and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s it, we’ve got it!’” he recalls. “And then I apologised, obviously, because I’m not that kind of person.”

Take It weaves slinky, serpentine guitar lines around a mesmeric falsetto. Harbour The Feeling’s krautrock rush recalls the laser guided melodies of Burlsem’s early champion Jason Piece while Doo Wah’s note-perfect Brill Building pop pastiche features the decidedly un-immortal line “If I was to drop dead tomorrow would you go kill yourself just for me?”. Originally hidden away on the reverse of last year’s Plastic People release and revamped for inclusion here is the impossibly excellent Smile whose shimmering haze Burslem swaggers into like Lee Marvin walking into a gun fight, whispering melodies with curled-lip menace before whipping the song up into Birthday Party levels of gonzoid frenzy.

Bringing things to a dazzling close is Please Don't Wait For Me. If Yak really did want a record that weaved a multitude of elements and left the listener wonder what the fuck had just happened they couldn’t have chosen a better sign-off. A shapeshifting multi-parter that morphs from mellotron-assisted flower power pop to churning quasi-metal riffs before changing once more as the singer – literally - sits on his bed strumming an autoharp and delivering a delicately simple and heartfelt little ballad, its vulnerability and lullaby of a tune in wonderful juxtaposition to the snarling fierceness with which the album kicked off.

“I don't know even what kind of monster we’ve created,” concludes Burslem. “That’s it, the document of what we were trying to achieve is done to the best we can and then we’ve got to forget about it and not give a shit about it, but also try and sell ourselves like whores to try and get people to listen to it.”

Given how head-spinningly brilliant Alas, Salvation is, it really shouldn't come to that.

“Alas Salvation” Tracklisting:
1. Victorious (National Anthem)
2. Hungry Heart
3. Use Somebody
4. (Interlude I)
5. Roll Another
6. Curtain Twitcher
7. Take It
8. Harbour The Feeling
9. Alas Salvation
10. Smile
11. Doo Wah
12. (Interlude II)
13. Please Don’t Wait For Me