This is another band that was on my hit list for Austin’s SXSW last year, but I never got the opportunity to see, ‘Yuck’. The self titled debut studio album the English indie rock band, ‘Yuck’ was released on 15th February 2011 in the US and a week later in the UK. It’s taken me a while to get to it, but I’m glad I have.
To form something of a background, Daniel Blumberg (lead vocals and guitar) and Max Bloom (lead guitar and vocals) started writing what would be, 'Yuck' material shortly after leaving their previous band, ‘Cajun Dance Party’ in 2008. Adding, Jonny Rogoff on drums and, Mariko Doi on bass the band released two singles on vinyl only in, ’Rubber’ and ,’Georgia’ early in 2010 before the group proceeded with recording this, their debut album, ‘Yuck’.
They start out with, ‘Get Away’ which I (as with my previous review of Smith Westerns) I hear one of my favourites of the 90’s, ‘ Ash’. It opens with a fuzzy guitar riff and thumping bass lines by, Doi, It’s a fairly low paced tune and perhaps a mid-paced, discreet introduction to the rest of the album. The lyrical delivery of lead man, Blumberg does resemble, Tim Wheeler of the aforementioned, ‘Ash’. The next track, ‘The Wall’ is lazy and hazy, but has a great sound to it…nothing complex, just an honest, good sounding track. The distortion and screeching guitar which are accompanied by the scorched repetitions of, "tryin’ to make it through the wa-a-all" work really well here.
‘Shook Down’ takes things down a peg or two and remind me very much of a New Order song (not sure which one…I wasn’t a fan, but my brother played them back to back for years and we shared a bedroom). This is the first evidence that this band is very diverse and perhaps has not pinned down there sound or where they want to go just yet. It’s downbeat and mid tempo with a sound somewhere between, Weezer and, REM of, ‘Out of Time’ stage. The tables are thrown over once again with, ‘Holing Out’ where a lo-fi sound and screaming feedback alongside languid lyrics work to emphasise a relationships communication problems.
‘Suicide Policeman’ goes back to the tender side of, ‘Yuck’. It’s the backbeat of, The Beatles with some well thought out lyrical content and some sweet sounds and vocals. ‘Georgia’ which follows continues in the similar vein with a guitar riff that has me humming, “Friday I’m in Love” by, ‘Cure’. This track flits with pop, but the distortion here puts pay to that to bay. Illana provides wonderful backing vocals on this fun little track. ‘Suck’ is very slow, with an acoustic melody and a little steel guitar. This one could be a, ‘Snow Patrol’ jingle.
It’s kind of misplaced, but decent all the same. ‘Stutter’ follows this mid album down and depressing theme in what sounds like a heartfelt pout. Again, it’s a decent track in its own right, but almost ill fitting in this album. Following this brief downside, ‘Operation’ rocks in with something of a darker, ‘Yuck’ sound and to be candid, it’s by far my favourite on this debut album. It starts off as it means to continue with buzzing bass, hammering drums and crunching guitar. The vocals are distorted in perfect manner. This is right down my street.
‘Sunday’ chills things out again and sounds somewhat 60’s, but still manages to burn a 90’s Manchester vibe…almost Stone Roses like. The repetition of lyrics like “I’ve got a choice now, I’ve got a voice now” and “cold winter bugs and I’m thinking of you, hanging out with me” fit exquisitely with the guitar harmonies. ‘Rose Gives A Lilly’ is a well constructed instrumental prior to the seven minute long closing drone that is, ‘Rubber’ which is a more than suitable jam to end this strong deubt .
It’s abundantly clear that this London four-piece loves the 90s sound. This debut stirs up sounds of indie bands from the era hailing from both sides of the pond…from, ‘Dinosaur Jr.’ and, ‘Pavement’, too, ‘Teenage Fanclub’ and, ‘Ash’. ‘Yuck’ are well worth a listen for their familiar yet likable and distinct indie rock sound. Rating 7.5/10