Yuck proves to be delicious

Stephanie Nagy

You probably haven’t heard of Yuck yet, but this five-piece band from London, England is one to watch. This indie-rock/alternative group incarnates that indefinable sound from every band you’ve ever loved. After multiple EPs, Yuck’s self-titled album was released February 25 across North America.

The album is self-produced, and in true lo-fi fashion, was recorded on an eight-track tape in a band member’s home. Yuck’s label Fat Possum is re-releasing their album as a two-disc deluxe edition with six b-sides October 11. The band doesn’t employ any fancy editing techniques, thus allowing them to pump out singles quickly.

The tunes on Yuck’s debut album are jangly and playful for the most part, while the lyrics are a mix of romance and melancholy. Their sound is distinctly 90s with the quirky charm of much older acts such as Donovan. This is especially apparent in the song “Suicide Policeman”, which sounds like a mix between Donovan and Oasis.

The album alternates between ferocious energy and softness. For example, the fast-paced “Holing Out” is followed by the slow “Shook Down”. There’s also a contrast of optimistic songs like “Georgia” mixed in with sadder songs like “Sunday”, more ballad-like and restrained when compared to the last song “Rubber”.

The moment I fell head over heels for this band was after seeing their dreamy music video for the single “Rubber”. In it, band member Ilana Blumberg plays a dog-groomer caught in fantasy. Like some dream waiting to be psychoanalyzed, the video includes uncomfortable extreme close-ups of dog parts, spliced between shots of Ilana’s naked body as she showers. The song starts slow and builds up with cathartic, screeching guitars. The lyrics are haunting and heartfelt: “If I put rubber in your hands/Would you make me into a man?” The depressing outlook of the song is finalized with the repetition of “Should I give in?” ending in, “yes, I give in”.

Yuck has received lots of attention and critical acclaim in the UK, where they were heralded in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 as the ones to watch; in Canada, they are practically unknown. They are currently touring North America playing very small shows. They did a showcase gig at Sonic Boom on May 1, and opened for Tame Impala that same night. I was lucky enough to see them play September 25 at The Horseshoe Tavern, to what was unfortunately a mostly comatose Sunday night crowd. The band kept their spirits up though, and repeatedly thanked the crowd for their patronage.

After hearing their unadulterated singles, it should be no surprise that the band plays well live. At the Tavern, the closer “Rubber” was especially rattling. A shy but talented band, they performed no encore.

It is interesting to note that before this album was released, Yuck released their four-track EP Weakend, which utilized only acoustic instruments, such as piano and acoustic guitar, under the name Yu(c)k to represent their toned-down alter-ego. This stripped-down EP is definitely worth checking out.

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By Excalibur Publications



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