Yuck – “Glow and Behold”

(Photo Credit: Pitchfork)

Grade: D

Key Tracks: “Middle Sea,” “Rebirth”

I have to praise Yuck for sticking around and even releasing a follow-up to their fuzz-drenched 2011 debut. Daniel Blumberg, the frontman for the band, left earlier this year. So the remaining members promoted Max Bloom to lead vocals, but the magic of their debut just isn’t here. They sound more conventional, and for a throwback band, that isn’t at all a good thing.

2011 was a good year for 90’s throwbacks – Cage The Elephant’s “Thank You Happy Birthday” channeled the Pixies and the Meat Puppets, and Yuck’s debut channeled Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement. Their debut was so drenched in feedback and reverb that it resembled shoegaze, even though the songs were too rhythmic and catchy. “Get Away” has always and will always be in my personal top 20. “Glow and Behold” turns down the reverb and fuzz. It doesn’t completely do away with it, but the focus here is much more on the songs themselves. What we get is some largely unremarkable indie-rock with a touch of distortion. The opening track, “Sunrise in Maple Shade” is a lighter instrumental track that sounds like a calm before a storm – but the storm never really comes. Only “Middle Sea,” at the album’s midpoint, can match volume with distortion properly.

Blumberg was a great frontman, because he brought a certain magic to the band. The songs seem uninspired now. Titles like “Out of Time” and “Somewhere” just sound so much more dull than 2011’s “Suicide Policeman” and “Holing Out.” And Bloom’s vocals don’t seem to fit the band’s sound. This is unfortunate, because of the circumstances (and I think promoting within shows a real sense of unity and confidence amongst members), but Blumberg’s nasally snare sounded far better in 90’s jams than Bloom’s lower, clearer vocals do. They’re channeling some more unremarkable 90’s bands now. The intentions are there, but “Glow and Behold” is both musically and vocally a disappointment to their legendary debut.

-By Andrew McNally

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