For a while there, it looked like Yuck were fucked (OOOOOO RHYMING!). They’d released one hell of a debut record that had catapulted them to the top of every hipster’s playlist, but then out of nowhere, their frontman bailed on them. Daniel Blumberg was a major factor in the band, writing a decent portion of their music, but he up and left to rebrand himself as Hebronix (a fucking fantastic record was released earlier this year, read the review here). So, Yuck were over right? Right? Nope, they got themselves a new guitarist (Ed Hayes), and Max Bloom stepped up to the microphone. All signs of logic pointed to a most likely fucked album, but the result is a pleasantly surprising and glowing sophomore album.
Whilst the first album leaned towards the college rock of earnest early 90’s bands like Pavement and Dinosaur Jr., ‘Glow & Behold’ is much more invested in the shoegaze scene that was developing at the same time, with hints of Slowdive and Ride popping through. Oh, and it’s a given that My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Isn’t Anything’ record was on repeat during their recording sessions. But like their debut, Yuck haven’t stuck to simply copying their influences onto a record to be upheaved, praised and forgotten by the Pitchfork public. No, they take these sounds and re-invent them, and they do it well. Its like sculpting the Statue of David with Playdough-beautiful from a surface level, and only more impressive once you delve more into it.
While for the most part ‘Glow & Behold’ is content to lovingly drift along like a bunch of playful otters caught in a current, there are moments of staggering beauty, like Titanic-finale level beauty. ‘Lose My Breath’ with the friendly warning vocals and seething guitar, the melodramatic but still gorgeous ‘Nothing New’, and the heart-melting romanticism of ‘How Does It Feel’, a song that makes me want to run, on all fours, to Max Bloom and never let him go. And it wouldn’t even be weird, because it’s almost guaranteed that every single other person who’s heard that song is doing the exact same thing. But hands down, the song that will puncture your brain with its flooring vibes of awesomeness will be ‘Rebirth’. Located smack-bang in the middle of the record, the My Bloody Valentine renaissance is felt most solidly here. The super shoe gaze rhythms, sighing falsetto and strings…it’s the perfect song. In fact, ‘Rebirth’ could be seen as a metaphor for the ‘new’ Yuck: adopted sound executed to perfection, impressive melodies that refuse to give up…the chorus is even Max Bloom swooning ‘Go down, I’d wanna go down’, like he’s daring critics to shun the new Yuck. Well, it’s impossible, because ‘Glow & Behold’ sounds straight majestic.
Hebronix might be the better post-Blumberg project to diverge from #Yuckgate, but only by a sliver, a very fucking small sliver. Yuck have defied expectations, and have delivered a resonating album of shimmering beauty. If Azealia Banks had done this album, she would have said ‘DIS ONE’S FOR ALL DA H8TERZ’ at some point, but thankfully Yuck did the album, and they just quietly smile to themselves as they redeem the band with a fine tapestry of shoe gaze rock that can be enjoyed at any time, anywhere.