Glow And Behold

Written by: TL on 28/11/2013 19:09:13

In 2011 the London quartet Yuck was a band stepping up as England's bid in a seemingly resurging scene for the lo-fi indie-rock/pop that a number of bands like Pavement, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain had thrived on in the 90's, and which the Americans in The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and the Danes in The Raveonettes was now carrying onwards with considerable hype as a reward from trendy music publications worldwide. Here only two years later however, the band is supposedly reeling and attempting a 'comeback' after losing perhaps their most characteristic bandmember - singer/guitarist Daniel Blumberg - with replacement guitarist Ed Hayes now in the mix, and with other singer/guitarist Max Bloom seemingly leading the band's attempt to bounce back from the substitution with their sophomore album "Glow And Behold".

Truth be told, despite the fact that Yuck haven't changed that much audibly, them and bands of their ilk always face an uphill battle here at Rockfreaks.net, playing a style that nine out of ten of our writers would probably write off immediately as just boring. It's not that their twangy, organic instrumentation isn't friendly and forthcoming, because it is, it's just that the drawn out tempos and receded, sleepy vocal melodies gives you the distinct impression that chilling out is the only thing the band is interested in trying hard at. So fair warning given: If you can't detach from the disposition that music is supposed to tug at you forcefully and rile you up emotionally, then Yuck probably isn't the band for you in the first place.

In fact, "Glow And Behold" makes a pretty strong statement about wanting to be anything but conventionally engaging, already with the slowly noodling, all instrumental opener "Sunrise In Maple Shade", which sounds more like it could work as an interlude or ending to an emo/post-rock album than as an opener for, well, anything. It's like the band wants you to phase out straight away, preparing you for the Yo La Tengo-ish twang and boy/girl harmonies (supplied partly by bassist Mariko Doi) of the straight-forward lo-fi pop of "Out Of Time". The mood reminds me of those scenes in "The Graduate" where Dustin Hoffman just floats around in the pool, drinking cans of beer and caring about nothing.

What "Lose My Breath" will demonstrate immediately afterwards however, is that there's actually a laid-back, naive catchyness at the heart of Yuck's sound, facilitated here via a recognisable guitar melody and a more dynamic implementation of Koi's vocals in the chorus. "Memorial Fields" then comes in as sort of a contrast piece, floating about so crawlingly slow it feels like time is brought to a standstill, before the album's leading single "Middle Sea" goes in entirely the opposite direction, sending the band to its most upbeat with some clearly relatable lyrics about wanting to snap out of daydreaming and realise a desire to grab the hand of someone you like and move to somewhere more exotic. It shows a dynamicity to the band that impatient listeners are likely to miss, that they can pen a tune like "Middle Sea" and simultaneously have a meandering lullaby like "Somewhere" work out, feeling like the sonical equivalent of wrapping up in a warm blanket and just dozing off.

As you may notice, I'm using quite a few words related to sleeping to describe "Glow And Behold", which makes sense to me because it is a completely relaxing listen. And while I may have made it sound otherwise earlier in here, I do actually prefer my music to be the opposite of relaxing - exciting - which continues to make me question whether "Glow And Behold" is making a pretty weak overall impression on me because it just isn't that good, or because I'm just not compatible with the temperament it's aimed at. At heart I'm "a run and jump and dance and be loud" -sort of person, and Yuck continue to be a "groove introvertedly in your own little world" -kind of band. So while I keep trying to be that one out of ten Rockfreaks.net writers that would appreciate an album like "Glow And Behold", I just don't foresee a lifespan for it longer than maybe a couple of background spins when this review is over - And if I'm honest I'm still waiting to meet somebody who would be genuinely stoked about it. But then maybe being genuinely stoked is way too excited a state for bands like Yuck anyway? In such case, feel free to place me in the "trying but somehow incompatible with getting it" camp.


Download: Lose My Breath, Middle Sea, Somewhere
For The Fans Of: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Raveonettes, Yo La Tengo
Listen: facebook.com/cagetheelephant

Release Date 30.09.2013
Mercury / Fat Possum

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