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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Yuck - Glow and Behold- ALBUM REVIEW

GENRES: Indie Rock, Shoegaze, Alternative Rock, Psychadelic-Indie Rock

TOP TRACKS: Out of Time, Lose My Breath, Memorial Fields, Middle Sea, Rebirth, How Does it Feel?,

If you haven't heard of Yuck, be prepared for the discovery of a lifetime. Still relatively obscure in the music industry after a pretty well-received debut self-titled LP in 2011, Yuck are a London indie-rock band with a lot of emphasis on ambient shoegaze sonic qualities in their music. There were parts of this album that reminded me of the new My Bloody Valentine album that released this year and there were also parts that reminded me of the new Wavves album which also dropped this year. Such a nice mix of sounds immediately does not seem to be a natural fit, but Yuck prove to forge a pretty nice original sound on Glow and Behold.

This is a soft album. Very poignant and mellow at times. It's the kind of record that you can listen to while lying on your back and staring up at the sky. It has it's emotional ups and downs sure, but this low-fi sound like I said has the elements of Shoegaze and ambience that make it a very eye-opening listen. The opening track is practically just one guitar riff on loop with various sound effects added here or there. No real emphasis or building point, just a rather appropriate opening to this album.

"Out of Time" immediately brings some elements of rock but it's pretty slow and playful. The same can be said for "Lose My Breath". These tracks are some of the happier songs on the record and yet they have this calming effect. It might be the production which is very airy and ethereal or it might be lead vocalist Max Bloom's quiet vocal recordings. Whatever it is, this band's music adds a very specific and natural effect to calm the mind down. I personally love it.

This type of style is much more present on tracks like "Memorial Fields" or "Somewhere" where the band explores an even softer approach that is very ambient and dazing. Soft guitar riffs, slow beats and heavy distortion that fills out long spaces. This album is great for day-dreaming. It's not an intense or active listen in any way. I feel like it's almost meant to get lost in this album. I certainly did and I've listened to it four or five times.

There was one very distinct rock track and that was "Middle Sea". I absolutely loved everything about this track. It's high energy but very happy at the same time. It brings out a lot of emotion and feeling.

For the most part, this whole album is really about evoking an emotional response and it often does what it intends. Whether they are sad or happy feelings, I always find these songs really beautiful in the way that they connect to me when I listen to them. I was really impressed by how Yuck was able to pull this off.

Now one complaint that the modern music industry loves to make about some of the rock music that comes out, specifically independent rock music is that it isn't exciting enough. This album isn't exciting but that doesn't mean it's boring or dated. In fact, it's a little more substantial than most commercial releases and because of that, Yuck probably won't be playing the VMA's or the Grammys anytime soon which I'm sure they're okay with.

This record is a nice use of classic rock instrumentation (i.e. guitars, bass and drums) that form a really different product than what is normally expected from rockstars. As long as good songwriting, melody and meaning is there, rock music will always be alive and well no matter what form or variation it lives within. Yuck are by no means pioneers. Like I said, bands have done this before like MBV and Dinosaur Jr. but still a great release in my opinion that will be very surprising to most.