Glow & Behold
Oct 17, 2013 Web Exclusive
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.
With its fuzzy distortion and dreamy, lo-fi vocals, Yuck anticipated music's current '90s revival trend by a year or so, St. John to MBV's Jesus. It did feel like it was pulling in two very different directions, the songs divided sharply into the faster, grungier tracks and the slower, sweeter ones; Glow & Behold has a more consistent feel to it, the band gravitating more toward that chilled-out sweet side. Yuck jolted the listener by starting with two of its heaviest, noisiest numbers; Glow & Behold trickles gently into life with instrumental opener "Sunlight in Maple Shade," a languid guitar loop that circles round on itself, every bit as luminous and delicate as its title would suggest. It's not until the fifth track in, the fuzz-tastic "Middle Sea," that we encounter anything that might reasonably be described as energetic; then it's immediately back to the low-tempo with the ethereal "Rebirth," which has the sort of wavering, droning guitar line that fans of My Bloody Valentine will jump on straight away.
Yuck have always worn their influences brazenly on their bleached-out denim jacket sleeves; for their debut that meant the likes of Sonic Youth, Pavement, and Teenage Fanclub. There are a few tracks on Glow & Behold that'd fit quite easily on Yuck, but in general the band have moved away a little from their heavily college rock- and shoegaze-indebted sound and added a softer dying-days-of-Britpop flavor to things. "How Does It Feel" and the album's title track have brass flourishes from the same school as Blur's "The Universal," and there are a couple of big-chord-sequence Oasis-worthy numbers—again, the title track in particular. Glow & Behold is a solid, mature effort from Bloom and co., but as with so many difficult-second records, it's lacking in a lot of the irresistible energy and charm of its predecessor. (www.yuckband.com)
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