I haven’t bestowed “Verge” status on a proper rock band in quite a while, but here goes. Yuck is a London-based indie rock band, but their sound has more in common with US college radio from the 90s than with anything going on in the UK. Because of this, they’re often described as revivalists, which is partially true. As I’ve written about before, 90s revivalism is in full effect, from dance music to hip-hop to noise rock. Twentysomethings cranking out songs in the style of Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, and Smashing Pumpkins was an inevitability.
Yuck’s self-titled debut is full of such songs. Heavy on humbucker riffs and loud-quiet-loud dynamics, Yuck plays like a time capsule from 1993. What sets it apart from so many “saviors of rock” albums is the band’s ability to write and execute hooks, consistently rather than sporadically. The album kicks off with one, the air guitar anthem “Get Away,” which is accompanied by a bug-eyed, fantasy tour video.
The catchy, sing-a-long vibe continues throughout the album, which is littered with rollicking, fuzzed-out jams like “The Wall” and “Georgia,” the latter of which features dual vocals from lead singer Danny Blumberg and his sister Ilana.
True to their indie rock roots, Yuck does “brooding” well, taking a break from rocking to strum some melancholy melodies. “Shook Down” rides the “baby, I want you back” motif acoustically before kicking into a Pumpkins-esque groove under “You can be my destiny / You can mean that much to me.” While I’m making comparisons to grunge bands, “Sunday” reminds me of Hole’s “Doll Parts,” with it’s lilting chorus. In this vein, “Suicide Policeman” is a bit of twee pop with a surprisingly positive sentiment.
Forgive the infantile band name; it’s still better than their last project, one-time hype band Cajun Dance Party. Yuck has been in heavy rotation for me since its February release for a reason: I love the 90s. It was a great time for rock music (for a while, at least), and anyone who can capture that lightening in a bottle is worth a listen.
Apparently, the word is out already: Yuck opens for Tame Impala at a sold-out show this Friday at the Black Cat.