Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Yuck - Yuck (Mercury Records)

2011 will be a good year for Yuck. Having built up a reputation for themselves online through their website and the blogging community over 2010, they’ve released their first full length, self titled album on Mercury Records.

I was introduced to Yuck when I saw them open for Built To Spill and Dinosaur Jr at the Shepherds Bush Empire in the summer of 2010. I have to admit - I wasn’t particularly blown away at the time, however I did wander into the last track of their set - the seven minute drone-a-thon ‘Rubber’ (which in hindsight is a contender for my favourite song on the album).

Having had a chance to go home and hear the singles released that year, I was keen to hear the full record in its entirety. Now the time has come. From the first front-to-back listen, I was impressed. The album possesses a healthy mixture of songs; nonchalantly wandering from the lo-fi, solo driven opener ‘Get Away’ to the casual, acoustic chilled out nature of ‘Suicide Policeman’, before climaxing on the aforementioned drone heavy ‘Rubber’. And it works.

The band’s line up see’s former Cajun Dance Party vocalist Daniel Blumberg taking up vocal duties once more, with the aid of his younger sister adding some occasionally needed depth on backing vocals. The brother / sister duo works best on stand out single release ‘Georgia’, a certified golden lo-fi pop nugget. With guitar work that feels as if the silver fox that is J Mascis himself may have written, it’s difficult not to draw comparisons. Who wouldn’t want to be compared to the grunge guru after all?

As stated earlier, the album does differ in tempo throughout. Most notably directly after ‘Georgia’ we are presented with ‘Suck’, possibly the slowest and most ballad-esque of all tracks on the album. It’s on tracks like this we fall into helplessly romantic territory (“I was burning with desire / You can never put out my love for you”). It’s never too much to stomach though as the romanticism is always in an aloof cloud of slacker haziness, distracting enough not to be accused of being overly sentimental (see follow up track ‘Stutter’ or ‘Shook Down’).

Immediate comparisons that come to mind would have to include a roster of US slacker alternative rock from the past decade, including Pavement, Dinosaur Jr and The Lemonheads. The album is both charming and relaxing in its laid back approach, occasionally slapping us in the face with some chord shredding and heavy distortion that balances out from all the mellow shoe gazing.

Less “Yuck!” and more like “Fuck!”. A solid debut from a young band with a lot of potential and a great future ahead of them.

Words: Neil Phillips

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