Album Review: Yuck-Glow & Behold


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.


Video: Yuck-Middle Sea

Well, hypothesis has become fact now: Yuck don’t need Daniel Blumberg to prove that they can rock the fuck out. ‘Middle Sea’ is an intoxicating mixture of heavy and hard rhythms that thrust and jut their swaying bodies at self-confident but ugly angles, like the candidates of a fat convention. However, this is magnificently juxtaposed by the truly wondrous vocals and melody. The harrowing giant gurgling guitar is awesome, refreshing and powerful.

Album Review: Hebronix-Unreal


Two ATP Recordings reviews in one week? Gee Whiz that’s a lot! Not it’s not you patronising fuckwad, ATP put out some of the best shit on this planet. You heard the SQURL EP? That shit was balls deep in amazing, helped along slightly by the fact that Jim Jarmusch was in the band.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, the new Hebronix album. A little history lesson for those struggling with Trials at the moment (a list that includes myself-damn you standardised testing!). Hebronix is the moniker of Daniel Blumberg, who used to be in Cajun Dance Party, and Yuck. You probably know Yuck as being one of the coolest bands of the past couple of years. You are not wrong. However, Blumberg has left that group, and now most of the creative energy is focused in this new, Greek-hero-sounding project Hebronix.

As Yuck is to Pavement, Hebronix is to Elliot Smith. It seems that Blumberg just can’t get enough influence from critically lauded bands. Even though this album is super Smithy, it’s also got some other shit in there, like Neil Young, Bright Eyes, and Sparklehorse. So, yeah, it would be fair to say that ‘Unreal’ is like an indie orgy of some of the best acts of the past decade, all tied up with Blumberg’s stunning voice. It’s a soaring masterpiece of the melancholy underachiever.

The first two tracks, the 10 minute ‘Unliving’ and ‘Viral’ are excellent, but the album really hits its stride on ‘Wild Whim’.  The lyrics of ‘Your the girl I se in my recurring dream/the girl that took the time to learn the tambourine/your the girl that doesn’t give a fuck about anything’ may or may not go in the box for best guilty pleasure/beautifully cliched lyrics of the year, something that The Kooks wet dream about. Then there’s the serene descending solo that balances out agains the fuzz like a careening drunk on a New York Sunday night. ‘Wild Whim’ is an  astonishingly beautiful track that is by far the highlight on the album, something you can play whilst philosophising on a bus on a rainy day. In fact, I guarantee a Pitchfork employee is doing that somewhere in the world right now.

The rest of the album never quite reaches the lofty heights of ‘Wild Whim’ but it comes damn close. Earthy and lightly wafting ‘Unreal’ sheds a tear, ‘Garden’ digs in it’s heels and bares it’s Dinosaur Jr. teeth, and ‘The Plan’ is a delightful mash of the quaintness of Bright Eyes with the heart-on-sleeve of  Built to Spill. Musically, ‘Unreal’ is a top fucking notch. However, most of the songs seem to drift for maybe just a tad longer than they necessarily should. One 10 minute track is asking quite a lot already, but when everything bar one song is far beyond the six minute mark, Blumberg is certainly asking a lot of patience and dedication from an average listener keen for a geez of entertainment. It’s like wanting to see the Bearded Lady and ending up watching Cirque Du Soleil. Sometimes it’s just too much.

So yes, whilst Daniel Blumberg might have crafted one of the best listening albums that the snobby music fan will champion, (myself included), sometimes it looks like it might just be a bit too much filler and not enough ‘Wild Whim’ to entice the middle of the road Yuck fan. Still, it’s undeniably good shit, and an obnoxious round of applause is in order to Mr. Blumberg for ‘Unreal’.

May Playlist

May I provide you with an awesome playlist? I MayMay there be a shitload of awesome new garage tracks and videos, like Beaches’ ‘Send Them Away’ and Hebronix’s (ex-Yuck) ‘Unreal? There May! There May even be some tracks from a couple years back from badasses The Soft Moon, DIIV, Ty Segall and Harlem. If you enjoyed the Radical Dads video I posted a little while ago, you May enjoy the Shark? song ‘Down Low’. I May have also included some more electro-oriented stuff like Lapalux (props to Clancy), and Mirwais (for any of you who have seen Snatch) 

1. Beaches-Send Them Away

2. Guided By Voices-Flunky Minnows

3. C H U R C H E S-Flocks

4. Ty Segall- The Drag

5. Great Thunder-Kees

6. DIIV-How Long Have You Known

7. The Soft Moon-Circles

8. Harlem-Friendly Ghost

9. YVETTE-In Praise of Our Doubts

10. TOY-Left Myself Behind

11. Hebronix-Unreal

12. Lapalux-Without You feat. Kerry Leatham

10. Blood Orange-Sutphin Boulevard

12. Mirwais-Disco Science

13. Kill the Noise and Feed Me-Thumbs Up (For Rock n Roll)

14. Christopher Owens-Here We Go Again

15. Caveman-Thankful

16. Al Lover and the Haters-Ballin’ Chain

17. Forces- Overland (In My Mind)

18. The Prodigy-Firestarter (Death Grips Remix)

19. Holy Fuck-Lovely Allen

20. Shark?- Down Low