Monday, 25 July 2011
When people think of alternative, they jump straight to the 90’s and point out the Grunge monsters and Beck. Before that though, in the distant time of the 1980’s, bands like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jnr. and My Bloody Valentine were layering guitars, fuzzing their music up and jumping between mumbles and shouts.
Yuck are a relatively new band with a decidedly retro feel, borrowing heavily from this genre of music. Formed from the remains of Cajun Dance Party the line-up reads like a dream team of slacker geek chic; with a handsome apathetic lead, a drummer with an unkempt afro and a solemn Asian chic on bass.
Their sound is exactly what shoegazing has always been about. The guitars are unbelievably distorted; the whole album can be put as an example of how to abuse the effects pedal. The lyrics whine and moan; Daniel’s (lead vocals) are delivered with a longing and mope and can make clunky lyrics like “Tryna make it through the wall, You can see me if you're tall” work well. On songs like “Georgia” the band nail the dreamy trade-off between male and female vocals, blurring into one beautiful mess. The tone embraces the scope of alternative, opening tracks “Get Away” & “The Wall” are rocked to an inch of their lives while “Sunday” and “Suicide Policeman” make for wonderful ballads with great heart. “Suck” wistfully odes to intimate love and has real heart, bemoaning “being young and free”. It has a shy quality too, changing subject to fire brigades when the intimate confessions become a bit too much. Finally “Rubber” is a kickass distorted epic, stretching an instrumental for 7 minutes and bubbling quietly to a satisfying payoff. Technically it has lyrics but in the same way My Bloody Valentine they intertwine in the back ground, effectively being just another instrument. For all the gloom the album has peaks of happiness and heart, the aforementioned “Suck” and “Suicide Policeman” make a comforting change, the latter being a very adolescent and dramatic way of saying “I’m here for you”.
The album surpasses its older brothers in a number of ways though. Firstly it sounds very good and the mix is clear. Older albums can sound absolutely terrible, I have a copy of “Psychocandy” by The Jesus and Mary Chain that is a fantastic record but just sounds awful through anything. The layer of polish throughout really helps the other elements shine clearly. Another advantage Yuck have over their seniors, like say Dinosaur Jnr., is that they don’t vilanise anyone or change to malice. The album never really turns violent and the anger is more frustration against everything instead of anything in particular. This makes them more affable and likeable. While the lyrics might make a few eyes role their charm and innocence and sincerity makes them work better than, say, Sonic Youth’s sometimes pompous, self-importance. Finally the songs are far catchier, in the sea of bubbling sound it can be hard initially to pick anything out and hold onto it, but the characters of the band have strong personality and the changing lyrics and themes give a fuzzy sound some much needed definition.
If you’ve ever liked any the bands I’ve mentioned then this will be a lovely throwback and a welcome addition. If not the songs are catchy and charming and will stick in your head for a long time.