With the departure of former lead-singer and songwriter Daniel Blumberg seemingly leading to a softer, more ethereal sound (see previous album Glow & Behold and the Southern Skies EP), Yuck have returned to the more visceral style defined their self-titled debut with their latest album, Stranger Things.
Opener ‘Hold Me Closer’ gets the record off to a barnstorming start, followed in quick succession by the single ‘Cannonball’, which continues in the same melodic vein. Yuck wear their shoegaze influence on their sleeve, but this is no issue. They stick to what they know best, and this album is packed full of raw, gnarled guitar, a wall of sound topped by Max Blomberg’s distorted vocals.
Lead single ‘Heart in Motion’ does this most effectively: three and a half minutes of wistful yet combative guitar lines, something used so effectively on debut album tracks like ‘The Wall’ and ‘Get Away’. The opening riff, returning throughout the song, cuts through the silence and paves the way for multiple crescendoes which fall away to a Television-esque dual guitar line, fittingly accompanied by abrasive drums throughout.
Whilst the sound does get somewhat repetitive toward the end of the album, Yuck manage to contrast their harder songs with lighter numbers ‘Swirling’ and ‘Down’, which lack the same drive, urgency and substance but make for pleasant listening nonetheless. The lackadaisical ‘Like a Moth’ stands out amongst these mellower songs, floating along – as the title might suggest – with soothing background oohs and aahs.
The album ends on an interesting note; ‘Yr Face’ is sonically darker and experimental, a real slow-burner which grows and grows in a swirl of hazy, buzzing guitar, posing an open-ended question; what direction will Yuck take next? Whilst their preppier, conventional far has served them well thus far, perhaps it is worth exploring this darker sound in the future. \