Music Reviews

Yuck Yuck

(Fat Possum) Rating - 7/10

This band could be your life…

… for the next few months, or until the upcoming crop of Best Ofs harvest a multitude of expected inclusions into one neat, tidy list of albums, many of which won’t CHANGE the face of music, but instead summarize what 2011 had to offer.  I expect Yuck’s self-titled debut to part of this list, not because the band makes any effort to pull the millennium out of its nostalgia rut, but because the album signifies transition.  What I hear (hope) are hoards of surf guitars being stashed away in anonymous attics across America.  I hear the trend of bedroom records losing credibility in the face of bands that get up and go.  I hear Cure and Smiths albums being shelved and Ian Curtis being re-committed to the grave.

More importantly, I hear the twentieth candle of Nirvana’s Nevermind being blown out, and the informed bass works of Surfer Rosa being applied to Yuck’s opening track, Get Away.  A contemporary twist on the Michael Azzerad-fetish world of DIY record labels, couch surfing and flannel lust, (or at the very least, Kennedy’s alternative nationalism), Yuck melodically reintroduces 90s “digalog,” with ample distortion and college rock whine.

Granted, Yuck’s well of inspiration is plentiful and, at times, obvious.  It would be difficult to hear a song like Georgia without thinking immediately of Loveless, the softened walls of vocals coupled with the thick guitar fills, shoegaze-y construct flirting with indie rock riffs.  Holing Out has enough noise and soloing energy to squeeze attention from any Dinosaur Jr. enthusiast.  They also reinvigorate the modern rock jangle of R.E.M. and Pavement with songs like Suicide Policeman, Suck (even a little Mazzy Star on this one) and Sunday.  As receptive as music audiences and radio stations grew to college radio’s music library in the early 90s, Yuck, in spite of being maybe too young to have experienced this occurrence firsthand, approaches the entirety of that musical climate with a scholar’s wisdom, their melodies emphasized by noise and their harmonies reliant on indie rock sensitivity.

Yuck’s debut will remind you of a time when the mainstream reinterpreted Kurt Cobain’s wardrobe as a way to market rebellion to teens, and it will mostly be enjoyed as a well-enacted 90s homage.  And, I do believe it should be enjoyed.  In spite of this, almost as though they felt an epilogue was necessary, the culmination of their efforts comes to fruition with the album’s closer, Rubber, which utilizes said influences into the band’s most distinct offering.  While rallying for a new cycle of nostalgia, Yuck’s debut ends with beautifully rendered confirmation that they mean to do more than simply appease the Alterna-boomers:  They’re asking for attention, so lend them an ear.