Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Nov 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Glowing Reinvention

event yuck3Songwriter for British band Yuck found his groove after losing his singer

This time two years ago, the members of British indie rock four-piece Yuck were riding high on a wave of critical acclaim, which they captured with their debut album—a set of ramshackle tunes influenced by ’90s shoegaze and lo-fi fuzzy garage rock.

The self-titled record was filled with songs built upon churning guitar dirges and simple, lyrical constructions. On "The Wall," for instance, then-singer Daniel Blumberg sings mostly the same line over and over again. The band was applauded by the hipster blogosphere and mainstream music publications alike.

And then Blumberg split from the group, allegedly on less than amicable terms.

For many bands, that would have been it. But not for Yuck. In fact, it seems that the departure of Blumberg was liberating for the band's new frontman, Max Bloom, as it gave him more creative freedom than he had previously enjoyed when sharing songwriting credits with the group's former singer.

"I did pretty much everything," Bloom says, speaking about the group's new album, Glow and Behold, via Skype. And it shows. In many ways, Yuck has become a brand new band.

Whereas the first album felt like a "jigsaw puzzle not quite fitting together," as Bloom describes it, Glow feels much more cohesive—all part of the same creative vision.

The new record is also much fuller, sonically speaking. Whereas Yuck's 2011 effort was self-produced and tracked in Bloom's bedroom using the bare-bones recording software Garage Band and only a handful of amps and instruments, Glow and Behold was recorded in professional studios with producer Chris Coady, who has also worked with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, and Wavves.

Bloom says that the music on Yuck’s first album lent itself to the bedroom setting. "There's a lot to be said for limitations when you're recording," he says. "When you have certain limitations, you can use that to make something really cool."

With Glow and Behold, he says that he and his bandmates wanted to lift those limitations. "We felt this set of songs deserved to be recorded in a studio environment," Bloom says. "We wanted it to be more flowing and a whole piece."

Glow takes wider dynamic swings than the band's self-titled album. Many tracks have sparkly acoustic strumming underneath the also-bright electric guitar tones, lending a distinctive British sheen to the album's 11 tracks. Bloom attributes some of the album's brighter textures to Coady, who used keyboards, reverb and other studio tricks to fill in some of the spaces that were once jagged edges.

"The first album was such a short intense burst of energy," Bloom says reflecting on his band's debut and comparing it to Glow and Behold. "I wanted to make something that was a little bit more thought-out and melodic."

Where the band's debut was reminiscent of the roughly hewn ’90s rock, like Pavement, Glow is fuzzier around the edges, with warm, Dinosaur Jr.-esque guitars and cooler Radio Dept. atmospherics.

Bloom's voice and lyrical style also creates a different feel on the new record. His vocal technique is less nasally and smoother overall than Blumberg's, and he tends to be more verbose than the band's former singer—which is something he says he didn't really plan, but stumbled upon in the process of writing.

"It's relatively new to me," Bloom says of writing lyrics. "It's always been quite easy for me to express myself through music, but I've never needed to write words to my music." He says the result was a "deeply personal" album, lyrically.

Some critics have reacted negatively to the changes Bloom has made—with one writer from the notoriously unforgiving music website Pitchfork saying that the band has lost much of what made it so vital.

It's true, the Yuck of Glow and Behold has a different feel than the Yuck of 2011. But comparing the two albums may ultimately be unfair. Though the core of the band has remained intact, it might be best to view the band's current incarnation as a reincarnation. 


Yuck plays at 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30 at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. Tickets are $15/adv, $20/door. For more information, call 335-2800.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Pop Life

The pop-up dining trend is freeing culinary imaginations and creating a guerilla version of event dining around Santa Cruz

 

Over Hills and Plains, Riding a White Horse, Bow and Arrows in Hand

Saturday, early morning, the sun enters and radiates the light of Sagittarius. Three hours later, the Sagittarius new moon (0.07 degrees) occurs. “Let food be sought,” is the personality-building keynote. “Food” means experiences; all kinds, levels and types. It also means real food. Sag’s secret is their love of food. Many, if not musicians, are chefs. Some are both. The energies shift from Scorpio’s deep and transformative waters to the “hills and plains of Sagittarius.” Sag is the rider on a white horse, eyes focused on the mountain peaks of Capricorn (Initiation) ahead. Like Scorpio, Sagittarius is also the “disciple.” Adventure, luck, optimism, joy and the beginnings of gratitude are the hallmarks of Sagittarius. Sag is also one of the signs of silence. The battle lines were drawn in Libra and we were asked to choose where we stood. The Nine Tests were given in Scorpio and we emerged “warriors triumphant.” Now in Sag, we are to be the One-Pointed Disciple, riding over the plains on a white horse, bow and arrows in hand, eyes focused on the Path of Return ahead. Sagittarians are one-pointed (symbol of the arrow). Sag asks, “What is my life’s purpose?” This is their quest, from valleys, plains, meadows and hills, eyes aimed always at the mountaintop. Sag emerges from Scorpio’s deep waters, conflict and tests into the open air. Sag’s quest is humanity’s quest. Sag’s quest, however, is always accompanied by music and good food.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 21

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pie Fidelity

A little Thanksgiving help, plus sip and shop locally at the Art, Wine and Gift Bazaar

 

What should be on everyone’s bucket list?

Hang gliding, because you're free as a bird. Jenni, Santa Cruz, Student/Administrative Assistant

 

Soquel Vineyards

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so it’s time to be thinking about the wine you’re going to serve with that special dinner, be it turkey, ham, a roast, or something vegetarian or vegan.

 

The Kitchen

Chef Santos Majano talks beer-friendly food at Discretion Brewery