Saturday, September 28, 2013

Album Review :: Yuck - Glow & Behold


Glow & Behold

September 30 2013 (Fat Possum)


Words: Dave Beech

Back in April when Yuck frontman Daniel Blumberg announced he was leaving to focus on solo material, those left in the band were adamant that it wasn't the end, announcing their second album on the same day as Blumberg's departure. True to their word, and with guitarist and ex-Cajun Dance Party bandmate Max Bloom stepping in to the role of frontman, Yuck are set to release their second album 'Glow and Behold' on 30th September and while it's certainly a consistent album, it lacks any of the youthful scuzz that endeared it's self-titled predecessor to fans and critics alike.

Beginning with the completely instrumental 'Sunrise in Maple Shade' it's immediately clear that this is a different direction for the band. The production quality is almost blinding it's polished that much, especially when compared to the lo-fi crackle and fuzz that's draped so lavishly over the aforementioned 'Yuck'. Following track 'Out of Time' is more of the same; new singer Bloom's vocals seem to glide effortlessly across the blessed-out instrumentation, yet they feel deprived of any of the college rock snottyness and bite present in the delivery of his former bandmate.

It isn't until 'Middle Sea' that we get the first real taste of a distortion pedal and the first real song of note. It's a subtle hint to the band's former days of caustic crunch, though manages to retain enough jangle and polish to assert itself solidly as a track from 'Glow and Behold' whilst following track 'Rebirth' is a hazy shoegazey track in which an understated wall of noise perpetually throbs and drones. It's a far cry from the all-encompassing walls of their d├ębut, but it's enough to keep any avid shoegazers happy.

Going off it's own merits 'Glow and Behold' is a perfectly listen-able record. Tracks such as 'Nothing New' or 'Memorial Fields' could be taken from a Shins album, whilst the inclusion of two instrumentals suggest a somewhat more mature approach to the band's song writing, which is noticeable across the board. If 'Yuck' was the college rock slacker, 'Glow and Behold' is the cynical graduate. The melancholy established across the record gives it it's own distinct flavour, as does the pomp and the polish exhibited more or less universally. However one can't help but think that the loss of a singer has also attributed to a loss of aesthetic; in maturing, the band have lost their snappy youthful tenacity and as result have released a delightfully inoffensive record that features a couple of stand-out tracks floundering in a sea beige.

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