February 23, 2011

Test Spins: Yuck

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Somewhere along the way, we fell back into the 90s. It’s not quite the Rocky Horror time-warp per se, but suddenly flannel, jean jackets, even 90210 are all back with a vengeance. And now some indie rock bands are going back to the 90s; a move that newcomer band Yuck made effortlessly with their self-titled debut album, without causing anyone to sneer or mutter the band’s name in disgust.

As a decade in music the 90s were all about casual style and simplistic recording techniques, with artists like Beck, Elliott Smith and Pavement putting a lower premium on quality and a greater emphasis on individuality. Growing up with this kind of music blasting from the stereo system, Yuck adopted this ideology and took off with it.

The British quartet shot out of London talented and surprisingly experienced, as two of the band’s members, guitarist Max Bloom and 20-year-old frontman  Daniel Blumberg, played in Cajun Dance Party when they were just 15 years old. And what Blumberg lacks in the capability to legally drink in the U.S, he makes up for in his ability to absorb the best qualities of old school indie and transform them into something more fitting for the 21st century.

While the band is still in the midst of discovering their own style, both their lyrics and sound speak clearly to anyone listening. Yuck’s easy popularity stems from Blumberg’s straightforward, no-nonsense lyrics. Simple love songs like “Georgia” and the whimsically worded love ballad “Suck” are exactly the kinds of songs that Yuck is selling — songs that are pure and truthful to the core.

In “Get Away,” Blumberg sings, “So my soul says that I want, I need you. I want you but I can’t get this feeling off my mind.” He speaks for anyone who has ever felt ensnared in love’s cruel harness. And in “Holding Out” Blumberg is barely able to get out his lyrics, “Everybody says they can’t get through to you,” over the blaring feedback from his amp in the background, artistically justifying the whole communication problem he seems to having.

Although they draw inspiration from the 90s, Yuck hardly sounds like a group of bad copycats; they are shockingly original in a genre often devoid of originality. With its range in sound and technique, Yuck is a solid two thumbs up as the band’s debut album.


Original Author: Heather McAdams