By Michael Lello
If any band could be excused for taking a second-album nosedive, it’s Yuck. The British ’90s alt-rock revivalists’ lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Daniel Blumberg left the band in 2012, making one wonder if the group’s 2011 self-titled debut would be both the beginning and the end for Yuck.
Remarkably, however, the band has not only soldiered on, but delivered a follow-up that improves upon the foundation the band built with its first album and surrounding buzz.
For “Glow & Behold,” guitarist Max Bloom has added lead vocals to his duties, and Yuck – which also includes Mario Doi (bass), Jonny Rogoff (drums) and Ed Hayes (guitar) – has grown up a bit, smoothing out some of the rough edges and adding another component from ’90s rock – shoegaze – to its already intriguing arsenal of buzzy Dinosaur Jr. guitar sounds.
After the simple table-setting instrumental opener “Sunrise In Maple Shade,” Yuck launches into the Pavement-meets-My Bloody Valentine workout “Out Of Time,” the Lush-inspired “Lose My Breath” and the Yo La Tengo-esque “Memorial Fields.” That’s a lot of comparisons, but they are apt; Yuck is a band that displays its influences with transparency.
“Glow & Behold,” a relatively dynamic album, continues with the upbeat and churning “Middle Sea,” the strings-assisted “Rebirth” and “Somewhere,” which is notable for its prominent bass line and deftly interwoven threads of vocals and guitar melodies. “Chinese Cymbals” is moody, with layers of acoustic and electric guitars, while “Nothing New” is plaintive in the vein of an Oasis ballad. The band closes with another slow one, the introspective “Glow & Behold.”
Despite the aforementioned relative dynamism, one could argue with the sequencing of the album. Ending the record with three consecutive slower songs is a bit of an energy drain, especially after the more uptempo numbers up top. That said, every song deserves to be on the record, just maybe not where it is placed.
With a second album safely under its belt despite the potentially traumatic lineup shift, Yuck has proven that it has a future, while it continues to look to the past for inspiration.