British Throwback Band Revels in Endearing Youthful Enthusiasm

Yuck
Yuck
Fat Possum

By Taylor Hogshead

By sidestepping the “style over substance” trend of underground music, Yuck distinguishes itself from the bands that have already tried to rekindle the garage rock attitude of the ’90s. Yuck’s self-titled debut may have been recorded in an apartment, but this London quartet swaps out the standard dose of lo-fi found in basements and year-end lists for some breadth of sound.

Songwriter Daniel Blumberg’s age — he’s all of 20 years old — helps him add a sense of youthfulness to the album. Some artists dwell on past experience to express ideals of young romance and heartbreak — Blumberg reports from the frontlines; on “Sunday,” for example, he proclaims his newfound self- identity (“I’ve got a choice now/I’ve got a voice now”).

Yuck’s versatility is their most valuable asset, though the temptation to make references to various bands in the “classic” indie rock canon can be overwhelming. Thankfully, they switch gears after nearly every track. Album-opener, “Get Away,” sports an intro guitar lick that J Mascis would be proud of; “Holing Out” achieves Superchunk-level power pop status and “Operation” hints at the jagged staccato of Sonic Youth. On the other hand, “Suicide Policeman” sounds like an ode to the late Elliott Smith on multiple levels.

Amidst all today’s polished beats, it’s endearing to hear a record that sounds like it was made by a few nerds who are too familiar with obscure artists back catalogues for their own good. Yuck’s efforts haven’t gone neglected: Several of their influences, including Modest Mouse and Built to Spill, have recruited them as openers.

But Yuck has made sure to prove they aren’t just another cover band. Their first single, “Rubber,” is a slow burner that combines enough heavy feedback with Blumberg’s wistful vocals to suggest they’ve got more than a few hooks and dutiful homages up their sleeves. (7/10)

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