Release Date: Feb 15, 2011
Record label: Fat Possum
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Click to Listen to Yuck's Yuck The members of Yuck were in diapers when indie rock was exploding in the early Nineties, but from the sound of the London band's rambunctious debut, someone was slipping import seven-inch singles onto their nursery stereos. The distortion-caked "Georgia" borrows Yo La Tengo's spun-sugar boy-girl vocals and "Shook Down" has the kind of pie-eyed harmonies that made Teenage Fanclub songs so pretty. Yuck channel their college-rock jones with skill and charm, balancing in-the-red guitar fuzz with melodic sweetness.
Yuck cannot be boiled down to simply being the offspring of J Mascis or Stephen Malkmus. It’s just such a lazy thing to say, like claiming the Rolling Stones had nothing to offer beyond regurgitating Robert Johnson songs. There’s a difference between being derivative and having done your homework, and Yuck falls easily in the latter category. These guys shouldn’t even be out of college yet, their median age being in the early 20s, but they can play rock n’ roll like they were born in a hollowed-out Marshall amplifier.
During the early Nineties, UK airwaves were jarred with the clang of ambitionless slackers who, without irony, slumped their shoulders at mainstream success. This was a new wave of star: apathetic, insular and un-moved by the behemoth pomp-rock of the times. But, if the sentiment was distinctly un-American, the results certainly weren’t. Grunge goal-kicked MTV into the consciousness of a new generation; chiselling icons from its reluctant foremen while bankrolling a sea of green notes into the pockets of opportunistic major labels.
Yuck has been pegged as a band to watch long before any sort of physical release was even announced. Successful debut records remain a tall order, even more so amid overbearing expectations and instantaneous criticism. But Yuck’s self-titled album captures a buzz band actually capable of exceeding lofty expectations. The band borrows everything great about late ’80s and early ’90s indie-rock, piecing together the formidable bits of this compelling era into a cohesive and enticing record.
In the age of bloggers and buzz bands, artists can become “the next big thing” and find themselves receiving international attention and performing at major music festivals with only a couple of demos under their belts. The dark side to this phenomenon is that a fade back into obscurity and the dreaded sophomore slump can happen as soon as that first album finally surfaces. London-based quartet-but-sometimes-quintet Yuck has been a presence online for barely a year, but has received plenty of positive attention surrounding their live shows, singles, and a cassette EP of stripped-down, piano-driven songs throughout this brief period.
A revival of the 1990s, a decade unusually obsessed with postmodern revivals in fashion and culture, was always inevitable. But it isn't exactly overdue. In fact, over the past few years, the return of bands and styles from the Clinton administration has almost become cliché. Pavement, Dinosaur Jr., the Dismemberment Plan, Jawbox, and even Blink-182 have reunited.
There is no lack of American bands trying to sound British; rarer is the British band that, for some reason or another, wants to sound American. London's Yuck is very much that band, and on their self-titled debut LP they explore a wide range of sounds within a fairly limited subgenre: '90s indie rock. These four guys and one girl (frontman Daniel Blumberg's high school-aged sister) hit the blog scene in early 2010, and since then their various MP3s have been (justly) inextricable from the words "Dinosaur Jr.
It’s a good name, Yuck, because it's disarming. It’s a good name, Yuck, because it’s disarming. Especially when three of their songs are called ‘Rubber’, ‘Suck’ and ‘Holing Out’. Snigger. Yet Yuck are no Gay For Johnny Depp: instead, they’re positively summery in sound ….
For a band you haven’t heard or even heard of before now, Yuck sure sounds familiar. But even if the UK up-and-comers play to a sense of nostalgia for ‘80s and ‘90s indie rock they were too young to experience first-hand, they’re still in it to make some history of their own. So maybe you’ll start listening to Yuck’s self-titled debut trying to figure out where you heard that riff or those melodies before, but you’ll end up wondering how this precocious combo remade what’s old and reliable into something that seems new and vital all over again.
YUCK play the Phoenix on May 1. See listing. Rating: NNNN Don't look now, but the 90s are back in a big way. Considering that most of the members of Yuck were a year old when Nevermind was released, it would be easy to suggest that the band is inspired more by 90s revival bands than by the era itself.
On May 18 last year, [a]Yuck[/a] played first at an ATP show at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire in London. Top of the bill were grizzle-guitared American alt.rock veterans [a]Dinosaur Jr[/a]. This was before the London foursome started disdainfully sneering about how “we only really care about melody” when asked to expand on their lyrics or influences.
Be wary of approaching Yuck expecting novelty: their debut album is derivative enough to keep a whole floor of derivatives traders in work for years. But given that it's 20 years since their sources – the pre-grunge guitar rock of Dinosaur Jr, Buffalo Tom and the like – held any currency, their slacker pop sounds appealingly fresh. Even the obvious steals – Operation brazenly lifts the vocal melody and phrasing of Sonic Youth's Teen Age Riot – sound joyful and unfettered rather than sly and cynical.
It’s tough sometimes to decipher a band’s true intentions or divine its motivation when releasing a record -- especially when the bandmembers are so influenced by a sound or an era that you can’t tell if their appropriation is based on love or cynicism. Take the current wave of shoegazers, for example. Hiring Vaughan Oliver to design your album cover or hiring Alan Moulder to mix your CD is the kind of cynical shortcut that makes it easy for the even the most casual observer to decide which category you fit into.
Review Summary: Sort of like why the 'Rugrats' and 'Hey Arnold' movies weren't quite as good as the shows that inspired them.You and I, we’ve seen this before. We saw it when it was more angular, more hip and had a more charismatic singer, but it’s essentially the same shtick. Ten years ago, Yuck were The Strokes, summoning the spirits of Television and CBGB’s, so in touch with what was in vogue that they essentially recorded the same album of pristine post-punk twice.
This band could be your life… … for the next few months, or until the upcoming crop of Best Ofs harvest a multitude of expected inclusions into one neat, tidy list of albums, many of which won’t CHANGE the face of music, but instead summarize what 2011 had to offer. I expect Yuck’s self-titled debut to part of this list, not because the band makes any effort to pull the millennium out of its nostalgia rut, but because the album signifies transition. What I hear (hope) are hoards of surf guitars being stashed away in anonymous attics across America.
When Times New Viking opened for Yo La Tengo during their 2006 tour, the juxtaposition, though it made a certain kind of sense on paper, was viscerally jarring. Five years later, it feels like that was an important cultural moment, a clash of two worlds. I mention this because I’m antsy about calling Yuck’s debut “noise-pop,” and it’s probably because we’re now inundated with groups for whom noise is something to squint through, groups that process that hyphenation ‘top-down’ (as cognitive scientists would say), ‘noise-pop’ as, simply, noise plus pop.
Yuck The British band Yuck has all the lazy affect of late-1980s to early-1990s indie rock, its guitars tuned to somewhere just north of indifferent. But this band’s self-titled debut (on Fat Possum) is disarming all the same, certain to be one of the year’s most unabashedly beautiful albums ….
They successfully hit many of rock’s sweet spots on this debut LP. Martin Aston 2011 There’s no getting away from the fact music does not obey environmental conditions; your teenage bedroom can have as much influence on your musical psyche as the weather or landscape. Such as the prosaically named Yuck, whose blistered guitar-pop is as Yankee as pumpkin pie.
In June, Simon Reynolds will publish his new book Retromania, a study of whether our compulsion for repackaging popular culture's past has left us with nothing but archive-print wrapping round an empty box where a brain should be. I don't know what his conclusions are, but I wish the tome was out already, if only so I could scrumple up its worthy pages and stuff them down my abused ear-canals in order to block out Yuck's debut album. Leaving aside just for now the fact that I hated this kind of Lemonheads-lite, floral-dressed, clompety-booted, neurotic ninny inanity the first time round, I have absolutely no idea how anyone could be arsed to expend the (admittedly small) effort it takes to produce such a pointless photocopy.