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Jacob Yates and The Pearly Gate Lock Pickers

On the Radar - No 163: Jacob Yates and The Pearly Gate Lock Pickers

Words: Nick Mitchell

Reinvention isn't easy for the frontman/woman after their original band breaks up - the road to redemption is scattered with career cadavers. Do something even vaguely similar and you're accused of complacency; do something radically different and you alienate your former fans.

So it's understandable that frontman par excellence Jacob Yates (real name Jake Lovatt) is a little reticent at any mention of his former outift, Uncle John & Whitelock.

When nudged about how it feels to move on to something new, four years after he called time on one of Scotland's most scintillating live bands, he point-blank refuses to indulge in a saunter down memory lane.

"I can't remember really," he claims.

And on setting up with his new compadres, he says: "It felt a bit like moving in with a mistress and being worried what yer kids might think. I told them that I was making some new music and if they liked it they could play, if they didn't I would have been hurt."

It turns out that Yates isn't the most forthright when it comes to talking about his music. Then again, it's often the ones with the least to say who say the most on record, so perhaps he's on to something here.

Yates recruited his new backers, the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers, after a few years' break from the black-hearted, self-styled "doom-wop" of Uncle John. While the act which has emerged may not be as abrasive as its predecessor, that bristling energy is still a potent ingredient of their Mississippi-meets-Maryhill sound.

With a debut album titled Luck due out on RE:PEATER Records later this month, Yates affirms that there has been no revolution in his chosen subject matter.

"It has remained constant," he says. "My muses are the same as ever - death, pain, magic, disbelief of humans' inhumanity to others. Except I wrote a song about soft drinks."

The song in question here is 'Lemonade', a split single with label mates and Radar-feted scuzz-mongers She's Hit. Now that he's part of a new Glasgow collective, does Yates feel any attachment to the city's music scene?

"I don't live in Glasgow and spend my evenings reading stories," he says. "I'm 38 and really don't need much."

And does he still feel the need to cut loose on stage?

"Less so since I've grown extra bone on my knee joint from dropping on them," he says, and, as ever, it's hard to tell whether this is truth or myth.

Therein lies the appeal of the second coming of this most intriguing frontman.

Luck is out on June 20 on RE:PEATER Records. The split single is out now.

Posted by Nick Mitchell

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