Yuck – Glow and Behold
I really want to like Yuck’s latest effort Glow & Behold, I really do. Since their self-titled debut in 2011, Yuck has sound tracked many sunset tinted drives, high-school romances, angst-fueled evenings, and sunny spring days. Yuck’s self-titled album was, and still is, on of the best albums of the decade. Those hooks, that fuzz, those perfect guitar leads. Yuck stands as one of the best rock albums released so far this decade, and its release turned an entire generations of millennials onto the sheer force and brilliance of the first wave of American indie rock. However, on Glow & Behold, Yuck departs from what made them and their debut special.
Maybe it was the departure of front man Daniel Blumberg, maybe it’s the fact that their scene is past it’s prime, maybe its that they are older and don’t have anything new to write about, who knows. But at the end of the day, Glow & Behold is simply not as good. There are certainly highpoints, “Middle Sea,” “Lose my Breath,” and “Rebirth” are all stellar songs that sound like they could have been on their last album. However, for the most part, Glow & Behold is just boring.
Perhaps the single most pressing issue facing Yuck 2.0 is how long the songs are. Most of the songs are overly repetitive, monotonous, and so soft that they make the listener’s inevitable yawn sound like a drawn out howl. The tempo never picks up, the ante is never upped, and there is never a sense of desperation. Whereas Yuck could soundtrack any array of situations, Glow & Behold sounds like either a nap, or a long and introspective walk.
After Daniel Blumberg departed Yuck this summer, front man duties were shifted to guitarist Max Bloom, who sang on the track “Operation” off of Yuck. Bloom lacks the charisma of Blumberg, and it’s evident. Blumberg was an awkwardly tall, disturbingly skinny, denim-clad curly haired mess. Aside from operation, Bloom sat comfortably in the background, on stage and in the mix. When he was forced into the limelight, Bloom leaves much to be desired. His voice is painfully non-descript—it’s pretty, it’s smooth, and it’s pleasant; but that’s all. Speaking of vocalists, where is the female vocalist? Oh that’s right, she was Blumberg’s younger sister… awkward. With the departure of Blumberg, Yuck also lost the voice that made so many of the songs on the self-titled album amazing. Oops.
Here’s the other thing- half of the songs off Yuck were released as singles. HALF. And the other six all could have stood their own as singles. Every song on the self-titled was catchy, enjoyable, infectious, and despite the fact that they all were theoretically similar, they all felt unique. The exact opposite is true on Glow & Behold— all the songs bleed together. With the exception of the previously mentioned “Middle Sea” and “Lose my Breath,” the album feels excruciatingly stagnant.
In all fairness, it is not fair to compare Yuck to Yuck 2.0. The J. Mascis leads are forgone for repetitious arrangements, strings and trumpets replace the Sonic Youth riffage, and cleanly picked arpeggios replace the fuzzy power chords of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Truth be told, Glow & Behold owes more to Bon Iver’s Bon Iver, Bon Iver than it does to Daydream Nation. If Glow & Behold has taught us anything, it is that Bloom and co. have made it clear that it will take a lot more than a teenage riot to get them out of bed.
-Fat Possum 2013