After two years of enforced introspection, lockdown recordings and online sessions, it’s high time we had an album with some pep about it, one that sounds like it’s made for gigs and parties and the return of normal life. This bunch of Leeds oiks have delivered such an artefact and in doing so, may have just turned in the best Yorkshire debut since Whatever People Say I Am…

Frontman James Smith both looks and sounds like an indie Alan Bennett, making wry observations in Northern tones over a backing of post-punk groove. At it’s spikiest, it’s a bit Pop Group, at it’s slinkiest a touch Happy Mondays, but it’s Smith’s idiosyncratic delivery that gives the album its distinct flavour – sometimes laddishly chanting along, occasionally giving a falsetto yelp or a “now then”, but mainly flitting between pithy one-liners and dense, prosaic rants.

It wears its social conscience on its sleeve but The Overload never forgets it’s an album, not a dissertation. The politics serves the music, not the other way round. You’re not spoon-fed a viewpoint, instead having a series of character studies spoke-sung at you for you to cast your own judgement on: “I had 100 youngsters under my guidance at any one time, willing to learn, eager to please and salaried with the implicit threat of instant dismissal” (The Incident). If Smith is the indie Bennett, then these are his Talking Heads, like the local promoter offering advice on the opening title track: “You’ll find I’m actually very nice. Are you listening? I’m actually very fucking nice.”

The echoes of national treasures don’t end with Bennett. Mark E. Smith would probably hate Yard Act, but there’s something inescapably MES-like about these intonational quirks and gibberish wisdom: “What constitutes a ghetto fetish – uh?” (Payday), “It appears we’ve both got gout!” (Rich). There’s some of Nigel Blackwell’s (Half Man Half Biscuit) knowingness to lines like “Nobheads morris-dancing to Sham 69” (Dead Horse) or “which comes first – counselling or keys in the bowl?” (Tall Poppies). There’s even Mike Skinner-esque blokey sentimentality on 100% Endurance – “Grab somebody that you love, grab anyone who needs to hear it… death is coming for us all, but not today”

Small town vignette Tall Poppies is the album’s centrepiece. The picture it paints of a local lothario is vivid enough to have been made by another famous Yorkshire chronicler…  But while Cocker would ramp up the sleaze, and have the protagonist “finally make it on a hilltop at 4am” over the closing break-down, the only climax here is one of existential angst. The six minute life and death tale takes an abrupt turn into geopolitics and a reflection on our own place in the world: “We are just trying to get by too…”

It bears all these comparisons, but The Overload is never not truly its own. Like all the best music, it hints at past musical loves, while giving the thrill of the new. Finally, it feels like the 20s are under way.