Yuck – Yuck

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

Ah, the strange and kind of sad story of Yuck. Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom were in Cajun Dance Party, an up-and-coming London band in 2008 that I only just learned about and need to check out. After one album, that band dissolved and the pair formed Yuck, recruiting Japanese bassist Mariko Doi, New Jersey native Johnny Rogoff on drums, and sibling Ilana Blumberg on vocals. They released their self-titled debut in 2011, and then Daniel Blumberg decamped for a solo career involving music and visual art. The next album in 2013 suffered tremendously from his absence, and third album Stranger Things (from 2016) found the band regaining the slimmest of toeholds. Still, they officially called it quits in 2021, perhaps a formality given that they had not released any recordings in the preceding five years.

What I Think of This Album

If I didn’t know better, I would 100% say this is an American band. If you’re intent on influence-spotting, the markers all point to stateside artists. From the Dinosaur Jr. guitar squalls to the Pavement nonchalance to the Mayflies-esque power-pop to the churning beauty of Yo La Tengo, the sounds that Yuck so adeptly folds into their music suggest a distinctly American aesthetic. And the ease and assurance with which Yuck does so calls to mind a much more mature and experienced band.

This is a startling debut, filled with expansive and thrilling songs that seem to have arrived fully, not to say perfectly, formed. There are many rockers, such as “Holing Out,” which sounds like it belongs on one of Dinosaur Jr.’s SST albums with both an overdriven lead part and a phased guitar part. “Operation” is chunkier than a pint of Rocky Road, and it’s easy to get lost in the swirling “The Wall.” Of a piece with this slate of tunes is opener “Get Away,” which serves as an appropriate introduction to this band’s love of noise.

The group can also do power-pop, as the gentle and jangly “Shook Down” proves, to say nothing of the even quieter “Suicide Policeman,” both of which invoke the invisible hand of Mitch Easter. “Sunday” is another such charmer. And they embrace classic indie with the boy/girl twin vocals on bright “Georgia” and the slacker vibes of “Suck” and neighboring song “Stutter.”

The album ends with Yuck’s atmospheric explorations. Instrumental “Rose Gives a Lilly” is angular without being unapproachable, and serves as a segue to the impressive and epic closer “Rubber,” which is the best Yo La Tengo mimicry you will ever experience, except with far more emotive vocals than Ira Kaplan can be roused to.

This is one of the best debut albums I’ve ever heard.

The Best Thing About This Album

The ease with which Yuck changes sounds.

Release Date

February, 2011

The Cover Art

This drawing is by Daniel Blumberg and I find it highly disturbing. No bueno.

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