With their fittingly-titled single ‘Rebirth’ three years ago, Yuck underwent something of a transformation. Their guitar riffs grew larger and fuzzier, like they’d just taken a intoxicating swig of Alice in Wonderland’s ‘Drink Me’ moonshine. Their music grew ever more hungry and urgent, like an impatient reveler anticipating a Five Guys double patty cheeseburger.
Following the departure of previous frontman and principal songwriter Daniel Blumberg, ‘Glow & Behold’ also felt like a pair of perfectly-sized, but barely-worn steel-capped boots; the band still in the process of breaking it in. Though there’s no question that the new incarnation of Yuck found their feet with their second album, there were still a few blisters left to iron out.
In ‘Stranger Things’ Yuck craft their most immediate and inescapable record to date,
Max Bloom has always been overwhelmingly upfront about the pressure he felt filling Blumberg’s shoes. He’s also admitted that ‘Glow & Behold’ felt a little rushed, mainly due to the financial constraints of hiring out a haunted church studio. A sonic leap forward, at times it also felt like a record obsessed with production flourishes and heady soundscapes; to the detriment of Yuck’s obvious knack for no-frills honesty and instinctively shaped melodies. ‘Stranger Things’ seems to leave all of that behind; the band opting for a home set-up, and producing the record themselves in a Finchley bedroom.
‘Hold Me Closer’ kicks things off in a cacophonous, head-pounding haze, frontman Max Bloom sounding like Jeff Mangum taking up a brief guest spot in Sonic Youth. Quiet pockets are answered by bold, no-messing choruses, and in ‘Stranger Things’ Yuck craft their most immediate, and inescapable record to date, the repeated refrain “I hate myself” cooking up an unsteady tension alongside sugary guitars.
Shooting for My Bloody Valentine-height levels of eardrum quaking reverb at times, there’s a gnashing bite to Yuck these days. Though the London band don’t exactly attack in a fist-raised blaze of mega-riffs, they hit hard all the same with quick, sharp, and consistently executed blows of effortless songwriting. ‘Stranger Things’ have happened.