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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 23 February 2011
Yuck are certainly living up to the high expectations that have been placed on them. Even before the release of this debut album, they had already been named in BBC's 'Sound of 2011' as ones to watch. The band were formed in 2009. As longtime friends Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom had previously been in a band together. Their female bassist Mariko Doi hailing from Hiroshima, drummer Jonny Rogoff from New Jersey (who dropped everything to be with the band, including a degree) and Daniel's sister Ilana (providing excellent backing vocals) complete the band. They are certainly the most exciting band I've heard for years, and tipped by some to be the forerunners in a new grunge revival.

The album was recorded on a £150 (approx.) eight track, and so is notably lo-fi. But don't let that put you off. The emotive melodies they churn out, with Daniel's voice sometimes being used like a fifth instrument that blends in to the fuzz and wail of the guitars are awesome. With some songs, 'Operation' in particular, it's hard to determine exactly what he's singing about, but just like the song 'Holing Out,' where the lyrics are about communication problems, feedback gradually covers a voice that is already slightly muffled; that's the point. But it's not all like that. Its the slower songs in particular like 'Suicide Policeman' and 'Shook Down,' where Ilana provides some amazing backing vocals. 'Georgia' reminded me of The Lemonheads' Evan Dando singing with Juliana Hatfield. There are many comparisons with Yuck to the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and many more, but in my opinion for a debut album, Yuck have blown these other bands out of the water. They've brought back a much needed sound from the late 80's, early 90's, but taken it to a new level. Yuck have created a tidal wave with this album. Phenomenal.
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on 9 March 2011
It's got to be said that while there are some genuinely good songs on this album the overwhelming impression is of a fairly comprehensive lifting of sounds and ideas from a whole raft of late 80's and early-to-mid 90's indie bands, so much so that it borders on pastiche. It is literally quite possible to go through the album and identify each "influence" song by song, ranging over evrything from Dinosaur Jr to My Bloody Valentine via Pixies, Ash, Teenage Fanclub and a host of others. If you are under 20 and don't remember any of the above bands then this is probably going to hit you as being pretty new and exciting but for anybody over 30 (who lets be honest probably weren't in the intended target audience) it's a generic record that doesn't stand up to repeat listening due to that horrible feeling of over-familiarity/ having heard it all before.
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on 4 April 2011
The hype has been considerable and as some of the names bandied around in relation to this five-piece were perennial favourites of yours truly (Dinosaur Junior, Sonic Youth, Pavement), I was salivating at the prospect of giving this one a spin. How did it fare then?

I can't help but be impressed by their almost complete refusal to step outside their late 80s/early 90s time capsule. The fuzzed up guitar, pared back production values and rasping vocals alternating with gentle laments do yield memories of all the greats from this era. Tracks like Get Away, The Wall, Holing Out, Georgia and Operation are full of menace and attitude. Their sonic dissent is never allowed to run too far off the beaten track though. Each song, no matter how scruffed up by the alt-rock dynamic, retains structure and shape. The hooks are there along with catchy chorus refrains and this is enough to keep the attention of even the most ambivalent listener.

Equally, they are surprisingly competent when they ease their foot off the accelerator. Songs like Shook Down and Suck, alongside the penultimate effort Rose Gives a Lilly, reveal an unexpected tenderness and confidence when handling the stripped back fragility of lo-fi indie. These more pop-conscious efforts remind me of The Pixies at their most accessible and some of the vocals (particularly on Shook Down) touch on Teenage Fanclub stylistics that seem curiously relevant despite the overarching themes of this album.

So, why only four stars? Primarily, it is because they don't do enough beyond the template of the genre that they are so determined to recreate. Only on Rubber do they truly 'wig out' and that is by far the most interesting track on the album. This is why Sonic Youth and Pavement are so beloved - because they pushed or are continuing to push the boundaries of the scene they are in. Yuck certainly have the potential - the twin vocals of the Blumbergs and the taut bass of Mariko Doi suggest more may come from this band. Similarly, the refusal to allow all of this debut to be subsumed by their love for their alternative antecedents is admirable. However, there is not enough here of original vision and unique substance for the listener to be sure they are enjoying an act capable of setting their own terms and initiating their own scene.

All in all, a remarkably catchy and interesting debut with plenty of potential that is only partially fulfilled.
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on 1 March 2011
From the off you can hear Pixies, that thudding bass, it's here; you can hear My Bloody Valentine, with the heavily "fuzzed" guitars and the simultaneous male/ female vocals; we hear Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, maybe even The Cure. But Yuck don't merely plagiarize, they pull everything off with sublimity, from the distortion drenched bookends 'Get Away' and 'Rubber' to the acoustic delight 'Suicide Policemen'. They make this sound theirs and only theirs, even the 'Teenage Riot' lift 'Operation' becomes thoroughly Yuck. Everything slots into place, the sounds and hooks conspire beautifully, even, (dare I say it?) originally..?
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on 25 February 2011
Ok, I bought this record on the back of some fairly good reviews & had an idea on what to expect. To be honest on first listening I thought too many ideas on one album. It sounded like a mix tape full of obscure american guitar bands that are too cool for their own good. But after repeated listens I now believe it to be a very assured debut which with some minor tweaks could've been a classic. There are some obvious reference points here. Sonic Youth, Teenage fanclub, Wedding Present, Sparklehorse, Lemonheads & I even heard some Buffalo Tom in there! But as I like all those it was good news. The main issue with the record is that it is grounded in records nearly twenty years old & Unless YUCK are aiming for a revival of the slacker years it will be popular with older buyers. Saying that if this turns on a younger group onto the classics of the past this will be a good thing. The record looks forward to greater things regarding future recordings & I for one look forward to that day.
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on 8 June 2012
Do you like Sonic Youth?
Do you like My Bloody Valentine?
Do you like Dinosaur Jr?

If you answered yes to the above then ther is something here on Yucks debut to investigate. The reason for said investigation is that this isnt the sound of a former alt rock band plugging away 20 years later - its sound of a handful of teens/young 20 something's.

Once you have yeard the fuzzy tones and piercing melody of opener Get Away its tempting to get carried away and start thinking this is the start of an alt rock revival.

But please calm down. As the BBC reviewer stated above once Yuck have loosened their very clear influences what direction will they head in? Will they continue developing psych rock with piercing melodies or will they head off into arty fuzzy drone land leaving the pop fans to one side?

Get Away & The Wall are so amazingly ovbious in their influences (Dino Jr and Sonic Youth) you could say they are mere imitators but for some reason they delivery of the music is done in earnest and is so annoyingly catchy and effective that you cant help but fall for its charm. Georgia, whilst sounding like a less dense My Bloody Valentine, delivers on a shrill notstaligic drench platter of feedback - but I am unsure if it warrants repeated listens over time.

Besides it is actually quite exciting to know that the next generation is excited by the alt rock movement of the 80/90's, its just where does it go from here.

The lyrics are left wanting in many places (in particular The Wall) which is probably due to their age and maturity and leaves ou feeling is it more style over substance. No doubt this will develop over time and their lyrics may become more engaging.

It was also made evident by their live show I saw. Their limited set consisted of the songs from the album and they barley moved or said a word to the crowd. I would have though they could have mustered up more than 8 songs and added a bit of fire to their performance - again maybe this will come in time.

They could easily milked the nostalgia cow and thrown out some cover versions of some 80/90's band to please the (rather old) crowd.

overall it is certainly worth a listen, I do like it - it has some great catchy songs and is a great moment of excitement for alt rock fans like myself. But once you get under the surface of it is there anything more there than a few re-hashes of some cult bands from the 80/90's.

Hopefully they will grow and fuse this into their own sound and become and awesone alternative band just like Sloan did in Canada. Their debut was almost identicle in terms of style but they soon moulded their own brand of power pop and became one of my favoutite bands.
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on 7 June 2011
I found this band whilst researching who to go to see at this years Glastonbury. I like to check out a few of the bands on the John Peel Stage playlist who I've never heard of and Yuck are one of them. Watched a few of their videos on youtube and decided to take a chance and buy the CD. I've not regretted it and have played it many times now and I'm looking forward to seeing them live (although they clash with Gaslight Anthem - another Glastonbury find from 2 years ago - so I might not get to see them after all...) Yuck are a surprisingly melodic and gentle sound compared to my expectation from the only tracks I found on youtube. My Favourite tracks are Get Away and Holing Out. I quite like Suicide Policeman but a few people have commented that it sounds like lift music! The female vocal on Georgia also makes a nice interlude. Overall the sound is indie in nature with some tracks on the rocky side and others quite popie or even tending towards the folkie side. There are a couple of "filler" tracks that disappoint a bit but overall this is a good album and I'll keep a look out for what they come up with in the future.
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on 18 May 2011
Two songs stand out - "Get Away" and "the Wall". These are heart warming, the sort of songs you want to end a summer festival with, the orange sun setting in the background. Once in a while a band out of the blue a band creates something special, "Get Away" is a good example of something which just works, like the LA's "there she goes". The great basic formula of Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass and drums with infinite possibilities creates something timeless.
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on 10 November 2011
Coincidence or signs of a trend: this September marked 20 years since Nevermind was released; in October I spotted chequered shirts on sale in Uniqlo. Do these two facts mean that grunge is due for a revival? If so, could Yuck be leading the charge on the back of their eponymous debut album? Of course, the UK music scene has witnessed such hype in the past, around Nine Black Alps for example, whose `Everything Is' was a great album-oriented grunge record but whose follow-up sunk without a trace. Can Yuck do better as the moshpit messiahs of grunge-UK?

Well, not for the first time the music press hype-machine has got it a bit wrong. Indeed, `Get Away' is a slightly misleading intro to the rest of the album. A member of the `guns blazing alt-rock opener' school of first tracks (famous alumni include The Pixies' `Debaser' and Sonic Youth's `Teenage Riot'), `Get Away' is full of anguished recriminations and cascading guitar riffs. Yet the rest of the album is considerably less angular, wandering onto the same territory as the similarly Sonic Youth-influenced Seafood in their indie-folkish `Surviving the Quiet' album. There's an earnest intimacy on tracks such as `Suicide Policeman' that speaks more of bone-fide lo-fi yearnings than self-conscious Seattle-worship, whilst `Georgia' is almost straight up 80s boy-girl indie jangle-pop. Many tracks display a prickly and insecure sensitivity that is, thankfully, nonetheless a million miles away from emo melodrama. In place of gloomy seriousness, there's warmth and even humour, as on the tender and affecting `Suck', which manages to capture some of the tender sweetness of teenage romance with its knowing lyrics.

So, rather than one-trick imitators of their elders, the album reveals Yuck as a band who draw on British and American alt-rock traditions but are capable of innovating to produce lean cuts of appetising indie rock meat. Aural taste-buds whetted, I'll be listening out for more.
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on 7 May 2011
Now I know most popular / rock music is now a derivative of something else, but this REALLY fits that description. I bought the album on the back of loving the single 'Get Away' which is so Dinosaur Jr. The rest of the album is a good listen with strong hints of Teenage Fanclub and Pavement chucked in too.
Yuck won't change your life, but it will put a warm smile on your face.
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