Often considered the Grigori Rasputin of the musical-genre family, Shoegaze is the one that won't go away. Resuscitated and reinvented approximately every six months, everyone has their own ideas to bury under the fuzz. Now it's the turn of ex-Cajun Dance Party guitarists and vocalists Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom.
Blumberg provides a strong centre channel for the music, anchoring it safely away from entering into drone territory. Sometimes he veers close to Tim Wheeler's (Ash) melodically slurred speech, like on opener 'Get Away', and then other times he steps into the realm of Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake. Just cast you ears towards 'Sunday' for that comparison to hit home.
An immense opening salvo is launched by 'Get Away' with its bionic guitar riff cutting through the mix as everything else is corrupted by static. Then, the storm abates, stripping the song down to its base elements only to erupt back into an immense chorus which highlights just how much Yuck are set apart by their focus on melodic structure rather than simply relying on atmospheric noise to make their point.
Tracks vary almost alternatively from beefy guitar-led anthems in the style of Dinosaur Jr.'s canon to the mellow, meandering nature of 'Suicide Policeman', 'Suck' and 'Rose Gives a Lilly'. The former resides too comfortably in maudlin sentimentality to make anything more than an abstract emotionally impact. Seemingly expressing a desire to be a confident to a fallen comrade, the lyrics never really escape from the page from under their haze of vague melancholy. 'Brother, if you're feeling low / Tell me one thing I should know of your situation / I could stand out in the hall / I could be your suicide policeman': words that grab you as being strikingly personal, but never passionate enough to strike the chord of empathy.
Arguably, the slower moments could constitute the weaker side of the band's personality. Stripped of their rousing choruses and gripping guitar leads, tracks are left at more of a sauntering pace and never really given anywhere specific to go. Marks should be awarded for diversity, but that the two sides of Yuck's nature never seem to coalesce makes for a slight smudge on their otherwise striking demeanour.
As usual, the names of Sonic Youth, Jesus & Mary Chain, (the aforementioned) Dinosaur Jr. and Yo La Tengo will be trotted out as a basis for comparison. Yuck seem compelled to instigate as many of these references themselves than any after-the-fact labelling, yet their strong vocal presence is more than enough to make this latest incarnation of the footwear-obsessed immortal genre worth investigating. Append to that a formidable amount of complexity in their riffs buried under the fog and you have a band who could perhaps step out from under the shadow of nostalgia and bask in the light of indie-acclaim.