When the BBC announced its Sound Of 2011 shortlist you may have noticed a distinct lack of guitar bands. British electronica, pop, rap, and even chill wave were all given new heroes but the fans of the six string were left with little to get excited about.
Yuck were the notable exceptions. The BBC was not alone in backing Yuck; they’ve received ringing endorsements from The Guardian, NME and Pitchfork (being named one of their hopes for 2011). It’s rare for a young band to gain the stamp of approval from the mainstream, the hipsters, the cultural establishment and the indie scenester simultaneously. More surprisingly, unlike their peers The Vaccines, Yuck haven’t garnered a backlash and have not been subjected to ridicule.
This isn’t the first time that Yuck have found themselves under the intense glare of the media. Founder members Daniel Bloomberg and Max Bloom were tipped for superstardom when they were schoolboys. As members of one time hype band Cajun Dance Party they recorded their highly anticipated debut album while studying for their A-Levels. Cajun Dance Party ultimately flopped and broke up without ever recording a follow up LP. The two men may not have achieved commercial success but they were given a lesson in managing expectation.
In Yuck Daniel assumes rhythm guitar and lead vocal duties while his little sister Ilana has been recruited to provide ghostly backing vocals. The London based band is rounded out by Mariko (bass), Max (lead guitar) and their portly but distinct drummer Jonny. The five piece were quickly signed by Fat Possum records in 2010.
Daniel and Max appear four years older and four years wiser as they’ve been quick to admit that their taste in music has evolved and matured. The bright angular indie of Cajun Dance Party has thankfully been replaced by beautifully considered soundscapes that recall the shoegaze and alternative movements of the late 80s and early 90s.
Their seven minute single “Rubber” evokes My Bloody Valentine comparisons as the band’s distorted riffs create an imposing wall of melancholic noise which leaves Daniel asking “Should I Give In?”. On “Gloria” Yuck follow the post-Sonic Youth route of The Pains, At Being Pure At Heart, with an upbeat hazy rocker that sees Daniel and Ilana’s vocals intertwine amidst the dreamy textured guitar work.
If Yuck are sounding dangerously like Creation Records wannabees; your fears should be arrested by the brilliant “Get Away”. A vibrant pulsating track that features one of the year’s sexiest (and most simple) bass lines, which recalls Kim Deal at the height of her powers. On guitar, the discordant bluster of Daniel’s rhythm is overlaid with a sharp piercing riff that drives the chorus forward. “Get Away” is a perfect slice slacker pop, destined to be a favourite at this summer’s festivals.
Yuck aren’t short on variety or scared to make the tough decisions; “Suicide Policemen” is a charming and surprisingly crisp acoustic ditty, “Holing Out” is an effects laden rocker with a straight forward hook, and the painfully indebted Sonic Youth pastiche “Automatic” has been rightly dropped from the forth coming debut.
Yuck appear to fit right in with the post-shoegaze scene of 2009, complete with bouncy riffs, slick hooks and dense textures, but the question remains: can they pull all their work together around a harmonious sound without losing their creative edge? Unfortunately we’ll have to wait till the 15th to find out.
For Fans Of: Sonic Youth, Pavement, No Age, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, My Bloody Valentine, Male Bonding.
Hampered by ill health, but never ones to retire shyly, The Who continue celebrating their 50th anniversary as they contemplate retirement.
Guitar Planet grades the creative comebacks from three iconic artists who are attempting to give 2015 a much-needed injection of impetus.
Guitar Planet takes on new albums by southern stars Blackberry Smoke, nu-metal icons Papa Roach and the legendary Venom.
The music industry’s glamorous state of the union address was delivered this weekend, but what did the Grammys have to say about guitar music?
Enter Shikari renew their archly political assault while expanding their sonic horizons on The Mindsweep.