Yuck: Yuck (Deluxe Edition)

The shoegazing Brits re-release their excellent February debut album along with a bonus EP; a nice addition for fans, a must-have for the uninitiated.


Yuck (Deluxe Edition)

Label: Fat Possum
US Release Date: 2011-10-11
UK Release Date: 2011-10-11

Yuck's self-titled debut, which originally dropped back in February, is attitude caged, all sneer and snarl, fuzz and feedback. It hearkens back to the early '90s, maybe the last time rock truly ruled, and in light of PopMatters' exhaustive feature on 1991, there might be no better time than now for an album like Yuck. The band's picked up plenty of comparisons to seminal indie bands Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth for their distinctive marriage of fuzz-drenched guitars, stunning melodicism, and sheer noise; I'll volunteer My Bloody Valentine and the Smashing Pumpkins to that list, as well. What's fascinating about Yuck is that they evoke all of these cornerstone bands of the early '90s without ever feeling hackneyed or derivative. Their songs are deceptively simple but never dull, with moods that vacillate between tossed-off and devastatingly sincere.

That sincerity isn't exactly out of character, considering the proto-emo roots the band taps into, and it may be what really sets Yuck apart from the pack. On songs like opener "Get Away" and "Operation", Yuck balance blunt-trauma sonics with a tender heart; the former deals mainly in the bright-dark contrast between guitarists Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom for nearly two minutes until it explodes into the keening chorus, "Summer sun says get out now, I want you / I need you". There's also the teenage romanticism of "Georgia", the waterlogged depression of "Stutter", and the droning wail of the Mogwai-esque face-melter "Rubber". Much like another group of precocious British kids, the xx, Yuck are excellent at crystallizing young emotion in all its chaos and ambiguity.

No matter how great the album is, though, it's initially a little surprising to see Yuck get the deluxe reissue treatment just eight months after its initial release. But when you think about it, it makes sense: despite considerable critical acclaim, the album and the band have failed to generate the same kind of buzz as other debut artists like Cults and tUnE-yArDs. You could hypothesize for hours as to why that's the case, but suffice it to say that Yuck is a band that's still decidedly under the radar, relatively speaking.

Will this deluxe reissue help increase the band's exposure? It's hard to say, but the band and the label have done a good job of sweetening the deal. This version of the album ships with a 6-song EP (simply titled Yuck: Disc 2) featuring a couple of the group's recent singles and a handful of outtakes. The best of these is "Milkshake", which appeared as part of a double A-side with "Shook Down" in May; it might be their poppiest song to date, and it features a centerpiece lyric -- "You can be so unkind / You're making a milkshake of my mind" -- that would sound ridiculously silly if Blumberg didn't deliver it so earnestly. Another highlight is "The Base of a Dream Is Empty", a washed out, inscrutable fever dream of a song with an otherworldly synth riff and lots of pitch modulation. They're more a bonus than a unified artistic statement, but if nothing else, these six bonus songs are a peek at what direction the young band might be headed in.

This is an age full of great indie-rock revivalists, and Yuck may be near the front of the vanguard. Their mission statement, if they have one, probably doesn't have anything to do with reinventing the wheel; they make lots of noise and try to sound pretty while they do it. It makes for a rich, layered listening experience, whether the record's getting its first spin or its 50th, and Yuck ensure that there's never a dull moment along the way.





The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D

Fleabag's Hot Priest and Love as Longing

In season two of Fleabag, The Priest's inaccessibility turns him into a sort of god, powerful enough for Fleabag to suddenly find herself spending hours in church with no religious motivation.


Annabelle's Curse's 'Vast Oceans' Meditates on a Groundswell of Human Emotions (premiere)

Inspired by love and life, and of persistent present-day issues, indie folk band Annabelle's Curse expand their sound while keeping the emotive core of their work with Vast Oceans.


Americana's Sarah Peacock Finds Beauty Beneath Surface With "Mojave" (premiere + interview)

Born from personal pain, "Mojave" is evidence of Sarah Peacock's perseverance and resilience. "When we go through some of the dry seasons in our life, when we do the most growing, is often when we're in pain. It's a reminder of how alive you really are", she says.


Power Struggle in Beauty Pageants: On 'Mrs. America' and 'Miss Americana'

Television min-series Mrs. America and Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana make vivid how beauty pageants are more multi-dimensional than many assume, offering a platform to some (attractive) women to pursue higher education, politics, and more.

Hilary Levey Friedman

Pere Ubu 'Comes Alive' on Their New, Live Album

David Thomas guides another version of Pere Ubu through a selection of material from their early years, dusting off the "hits" and throwing new light on some forgotten gems.


Woods Explore Darkness on 'Strange to Explain'

Folk rock's Woods create a superb new album, Strange to Explain, that mines the subconscious in search of answers to life's unsettling realities.


The 1975's 'Notes on a Conditional Form' Is Laudably Thought-Provoking and Thrilling

The 1975 follow A Brief Inquiry... with an even more intriguing, sprawling, and chameleonic song suite. Notes on a Conditional Form shows a level of unquenchable ambition, creativity, and outspoken curiosity that's rarely felt in popular music today.


Dustbowl Revival's "Queen Quarantine (A Home Recording)" Is a Cheeky Reproach of COVID-19 (premiere)

Inspired by John Prine, Dustbowl Revival's latest single, "Queen Quarantine (A Home Recording)", approaches the COVID-19 pandemic with wit and good humor.


The 2020 US Presidential Election Is Going to Be Wild but We've Seen Wild Before

Americans are approaching a historical US presidential election in unprecedented times. Or are they? Chris Barsanti's The Ballot Box: 10 Presidential Elections That Changed American History gives us a brief historical perspective.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.