Release Date: Sep 30, 2013
Record label: Fat Possum
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Pop, Shoegaze
On their debut, Yuck mined early '90s distortion-drenched pop, specifically early Teenage Fanclub, with fantastic results. Glow & Behold, their sophomore album, finds the London, UK group amping up the fidelity while dialling back the noise. Its languid pacing will try the patience of fans — things don't really kick into high gear until fifth track "Middle Sea" and that only lasts for a few numbers.
Since parting ways with Daniel Blumberg—the original frontman for the band—earlier this year, noise-pop outfit Yuck seems to have seriously mellowed out. For their sophomore full-length release Glow & Behold, the London band (now a trio consisting of Max Bloom, Mariko Doi and Jonny Rogoff) turned the unfocused yet fun chaotic energy found on their self-titled debut down, and began to carefully erect their own wall of sound. Following in the droning and incredibly layered footsteps of noise-rock’s pioneers, including Sonic Youth, Pavement and My Bloody Valentine, Yuck pushes the fuzzed-out instruments center-stage, burying the album’s vocals within the sea of sound.
You’d think that the departure of a lead singer would spell catastrophe for a band. However, when Yuck lost frontman Daniel Blumberg, bandmate and former co-Cajun Dance Party member Max Bloom stepped up to plate to helm mic duties for their second record. The London college-rock/slackergaze outfit, now reduced to a trio, managed to struggle through the departure intact, and while Blumberg is cavorting with myriad side projects, Yuck march stoically (read: shamble stonededly) onwards.
Genre revivals tend to work in a similar fashion to local music scenes: one or two groups take something well-worn and find some unexplored creative territory within it, and most of the deluge of bands that follow are more or less direct copycats. We saw this with the dance-rock revival in the early 2000s when Interpol and the Rapture begat the likes of the Bravery. This ‘90s revival that has taken up the past few years is a little different, though.
After frontman Daniel Blumberg's bombshell departure from the band earlier this year, the remaining members of Yuck—drummer Jonny Rogoff, bassist Mariko Doi, and guitarist-turned-frontman Max Bloom—have a lot to prove. Bloom co-wrote Yuck's 2011 self-titled debut album with Blumberg, and the songs he wrote alone-"Operation" and "Rose Gives a Lilly"—were two of the strongest on the record; in theory, the band's been left in safe hands. The fact remains, though, that Yuck's formula has been dramatically altered.
There isn’t a lot of precedent for what Yuck’s doing on their sophomore LP Glow & Behold.While it’s not unusual for groups in more moneyed genres to survive the departure of their lead singer, they tend to bring on a hired gun—Brian Johnson, Sammy Hagar, Peter Cetera, whoever’s singing in Journey right now. But typically in indie rock, when the frontperson’s done, the band is too. So here’s Yuck, not only carrying on without Daniel Blumberg, but also making the rare internal promotion in guitarist Max Bloom, who sang on one track last time out (“Operation”).
Back in February 2011, which unlike your correspondent you probably don’t remember for Norwich City beginning a charge that would take them to a second successive promotion, Yuck’s self-titled debut album was reviewed by DiS stalwart Billy Hamilton, who summed up the early-Nineties alt rock-aping quartets first effort thusly: 'Had they furrowed their own pathway their future could have been assured. Instead, the past may be all Yuck have to play with. ' A scan of the comments from the ever-fervent DiS community about the review reveals about a 60/40 split betwixt those believing Yuck’s way with a melody more than made up for their fascination with all things flannel-clad and those subscribing to Billy’s view.
When Yuck released their self-titled debut album back in 2011, things took off quickly for the London-based five-piece. They were buzzing on the tips of music industry tongues, and they revelled in the heavyweight comparisons – Dinosaur Jr here, Pavement there – that were flung their way. Not bad for a bunch of musicians in their early twenties.
It's never easy to follow up a super-successful debut, and on their sophomore effort, 90s-lovin' indie rockers Yuck face the extra challenge of doing it without the voice behind their woozy, lackadaisical sound. (Lead vocalist Daniel Blumberg left the band earlier this year to pursue a solo project.) Luckily, the pared-down group cope just fine as a trio. Setting the stage with an instrumental opening track lush with circuitous guitar lines and horn flourishes, the album is a mature step for the British band.
For a band only just nudging their mid-20s, Yuck have been through the ringer and back again. Formed from the ashes of the long-defunct Cajun Dance Party, their debut, eponymous release generated plenty of excitement upon its release back in 2011. Held up as the bright young things of the lo-fi scene, they were likened to Dinosaur Jnr and Yo La Tengo.
With Yuck frontman and co-founder Daniel Blumberg off to pastures new, guitarist Max Bloom has received an internal promotion, as such, to take on the mantle of frontman. This rearrangement, as resourceful and personnel-retaining as it is, was always going to be the focal point of any critique sent Glow & Behold’s way. Such a transition is always going to be a threat to the identity of any band; Blumberg’s vocals were channeled through as much distortion as the guitars that they garnished, and was one of the key factors of defining the sound, and in sharpening a cutting edge that exemplified a brilliant debut record in 2011’s Yuck.
When Yuck frontman Daniel Blumberg announced he was leaving north London's slacker-rock revivalists, the remaining members were adamant they had no plans to fold. They've kept that promise, with guitarist Max Bloom slipping into Blumberg's role for this followup. Bloom is not an unlikable vocalist, but he lacks the confidence of his predecessor, which may explain the shift in both pace and energy here.
Growing up is hard to do. I have no idea how old the members of Yuck are, but I know the band’s brand new album lacks whatever rougher edges could be found on their first record. There’s a temptation as a musician to clean up a bit as you age, to embrace some arbitrary notion of maturity that often manifests itself as the repudiation of anything messy or noisy.
Before Yuck began working on their second album, one of their two guitarist/songwriter/vocalists quit the band. Bands are always losing members and soldiering on, but once the original lineup starts to splinter it almost always means trouble. In this case, Daniel Blumberg's defection from the group pretty much ruined Yuck. Their early singles and debut album were thrilling and sometimes weird retro-shoegaze pop; a whirling blend of noise and stillness, melody and energy, that was built around really strong songs and surprising levels of emotion.
Bands are never the same after losing a frontman, their eventual return to the scene an anxiety-inducing ordeal for fans. While the experiment has its share of both successes and failures, Yuck started off a bit better than some bands, many of which lost not just a vocalist, but their songwriting tour-de-force. Yuck’s roots, instead, relied on teamwork, stemming equally from departed frontman Daniel Blumberg and guitarist/vocalist Max Bloom.
opinion byMATTHEW M.F. MILLER It’s a bold statement that Yuck chose to open their sophomore album, Glow and Behold, with a vocal-free track given that this long-gestating project came to fruition without the original voice of the band. On the London-based group’s likable, 2011 self-titled debut album, singer/guitarist Daniel Blumberg’s vocals squawked appropriately low in the mix, sung through the same muffled distortion as the punk-lite wailing guitars.
First things first - Yuck is a TERRIBLE name for a band. It's what my three-year-old says when she eats something she dislikes. It's childish and twee and provides an open goal for word-shy haters who can dismiss the band thus - "Yuck? Yuck." But terrible name doesn't necessarily equal terrible band. There are many great bands with rubbish names (it’s subjective really, but Nirvana and The Beatles are two that spring to mind).
Little more than a year into their existence, British kicks-gazers Yuck released their self-titled 2011 debut and were rightly flung onto the U.K. hype highway. Riding on the roads of many Jesus And Mary Chain-loving combos out there, Yuck took a welcome detour off the fuzzed-out, reverb-saturation street down sunnier byways, recalling early ’90s striped-shirt-sporting, not-exactly-big stars like Teenage Fanclub and Velvet Crush.