They successfully hit many of rock’s sweet spots on this debut LP.
Martin Aston 2011-02-10
There’s no getting away from the fact music does not obey environmental conditions; your teenage bedroom can have as much influence on your musical psyche as the weather or landscape. Such as the prosaically named Yuck, whose blistered guitar-pop is as Yankee as pumpkin pie. They even record for a label named Fat Possum! And yet they’re three-fifths British (drummer Jonny is from New Jersey; bassist Mariko from Hiroshima). But just four princely seconds of the opening Get Away will conjure up the gnarly energy and superfuzz bigmuff pedal fever of Dinosaur Jr’s Freak Scene. Six seconds of Operation will trigger moist memories of Sonic Youth’s Teenage Riot. This is not a bad thing, because Yuck appear to be the only band around reaching these neglected parts of the brain. How we have been starved.
In their former life, two Yucksters – Daniel (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Max (lead guitar) – didn’t even seem aware of their own commitment to the post-hardcore scene that gelled in the late 80s. The truth is that they only discovered it three years ago. At the age of 17, they had been members of Cajun Dance Party, but they’re better now and Yuck feels like an exhilarating burst for freedom. Their debut album is infused with so much body-moshing joy that you can forgive their starry-eyed homage (cut open The Wall and it will also bleed Dinosaur blood; Holing Out is a leaf out of Teenage Fanclub’s own American dream). Ironically, when Yuck move beyond starry-eyed homage, it falls a bit flat, as on the My Bloody Valentine-lite of Georgia (featuring Danny’s sister Ilana, the fifth Yuck, on shared vocals) or the depressed Lemonheads heartland of Shook Down.
Curiously, the last two songs, Rose Gives a Lilly (sparse, hypnotic) and Rubber (slow, grinding) are comparative leaps into the unknown; or rather, they’re what you imagine Yuck will sound like when they’re over their nostalgia crush. They claim their true influences are Pavement, Sparklehorse and Red House Painters, so we can expect more emotionally oblique, cunning, layered angles to Yuck’s music. Just as long as they don’t get rid of their ability to hit so many of rock’s sweet spots, they’ll be just fine.