Yuck sound like the band you thought was great when you saw them live, but then fade to the background. Their debut album contains enjoyable songs with slicing riffs, bleeding distortion and loose, casual lyrics (“Try to make it through the wall, you can see me if you’re tall”), a style, which is wholly embedded in the 90’s American alternative rock tradition. However, upon closer investigation their songs offer no proof that music has progressed in the last 10 years. Instead they end up as lesser versions of their predecessors. For example their opener “Get Away” sounds dangerously similar to Yo La Tengo’s song “Double Dare”, and the song “Georgia” has an almost identical riff to The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love”. Of course inspiration should not be faulted, and indeed Yuck are inspired by some of my favourite bands. But they are so promiscuous in trying to reincarnate these greats (Elliot Smith, Galaxie 500, Sonic Youth to name a few) that they lose a core identity, and instead become a tribute band. And indeed the other fault with tribute bands is that the original musicians could always do it better.
Furthermore, the music sounds insincere. Being a British indie band, Yuck have not evaded the trend of unfounded arrogance growing in indie bands. It seems that the singer Daniel Blumberg is very much concerned with his rockstar persona, which makes the words sound hollow, but more importantly makes the feeling seem like affectation. Many of the songs suggest a form of release or euphoria, made possible by very effective guitar playing, yet Blumberg seems to be holding something back, which makes him sound like he’s playing a role. Nevertheless, the music is enjoyable, and their climax is the droning closer “Rubber”, yet ultimately the music is not original, and more importantly is not genuine. And so although this band has somewhat revitalised a tradition, on the whole ignored in England, it must seek its own identity in order to make great music.