Album: Glow And Behold
Release Date: September 30, 2013 (Fat Possum)
Buzz Factor: 3/5
After listening to Glow And Behold, Yuck’s most recent release, my iTunes automatically began to play the first track from their 2011 self-titled album. I didn’t totally realize what my opinion of Glow And Behold was until the fuzzed-out guitars on “Get Away” kicked in and I was instantly overwhelmed with that shit-I-miss-this sentiment.
Glow And Behold isn’t a bad album. It’s good, especially when one takes into consideration the massive amount of change the band underwent between their two releases: they gained a sizable amount of popularity and critical acclaim, only to lose Daniel Blumberg, the front man whose dominating influence permeated every stage of the creative process. Yuck’s remaining members carried on, replacing Blumberg with guitarist Max Bloom to bring forth a sophomore album that is good, but not anywhere near great.
While Yuck has always paid homage to their influences–at times approaching the point of mimicry in the process–the appeal of their music has stemmed from the energy that was inherently theirs. The listener can look beyond the Yo La Tengo comparisons in a song like “Rubber,” where the grungy guitar and absolutely epic buildup and breakdown take center stage. The Teenage Fanclub-esque track “Shook Down” culminates in a few seconds of recklessness, turning a song we’ve all heard before into something unique. However, Glow And Behold is too often missing the life and enthusiasm that made Yuck a success in the first place. The single “Rebirth” is a clean and standard shoegaze track: but that’s exactly where the problem lies. The song, although pleasing to listen to, is drained of the energy that sets it apart from the thousands of other MBV/Cocteau Twins wannabes. It’s not a bad song, but it’s a tired one.
Although most of Glow And Behold blends together into enjoyable but unspectacular noise, there are a few songs that recall the Yuck that I couldn’t get enough of in 2011. “Middle Sea” introduces a cleaner version of the fuzziness from the first record and is a very welcome change of pace, while the Slowdive-esque “Somewhere” produces a powerful melancholia that is largely absent elsewhere. “Somewhere” has the capability to haunt the listener instead of simply being processed and promptly fading from memory.
At its core, Glow And Behold is a likable but rather unsatisfying release. It includes many elements of songs that have been well received in the past, but does not contain the verve to make these songs sound particularly special.