tue 25/06/2019

Yuck, Electric Ballroom | reviews, news & interviews

Yuck, Electric Ballroom

Yuck, Electric Ballroom

Fuzz-rockers eradicate the past 20 years of musical history

Yuck: they know a thing or two but still need to keep a note of their name

On 9 September, 1985 The Jesus and Mary Chain played Camden's Electric Ballroom to a ceaseless hail of plastic pint pots. After 20 minutes, the songs gave way to formless feedback and they sloped off the stage. Although Yuck weren’t born then, the significance of playing the same stage can’t have been lost on them. Carrying a torch for the pre-grunge fuzz-rock that was shoegazing’s ugly sister, Yuck know a thing or two about what they’re drawing from.

Yuck’s set ended in formless feedback and there was no encore. The house lights were quickly switched on and that was it. Singer/guitarist Daniel Blumberg is about as rock‘n’roll as Jon Ronson, but he’s well aware of what he’s evoking. Drummer Jonny Rogoff, though, is more concerned with a head of hair that's even more magnificent than that of fellow pounder Seb Rochford.

Yuck's smooshed-together bricolage rock is served up with panache, tossed off with nonchalance

Strolling on and lurching into the terrific “Holing Out” after a bit of fiddling about, it’s impossible not to be swept along on this tide of distorted pop. “Milkshake”, “Georgia”, “Get Away”: all are as if grunge had never happened, never made the nerds think twice about picking up a guitar and cloaking their pop in a wall of squall.

Yuck haven’t got a whole lot that’s solid underpinning them: a handful of singles (on CD, vinyl, cassette) and an album (just reissued with 10 bonus tracks), mostly released this year. But Blumberg and fellow guitarist Max Bloom used to be in indie-C86-alikes Cajun Dance Party, who made one album in 2008 with former Suede man Bernard Butler as their producer. It was recorded at Edwyn Collins’s studio. So it’s no surprise that Yuck also draw from the past – albeit one with the slightly more recent cut-off point of 1991.

Their sonic cousins Glasvegas are left standing, looking stilted and affected

Sure, “Georgia” is the Lush end of shoegazing in a pile-up, “Rubber” takes The Jesus and Mary Chain beyond the valley of Daydream Nation and “Holing Out” is Dinosaur Jr made over bubblegum style. When they ditch the fuzz, like on “Shook Down”, they’re on a date with Teenage Fanclub. Nonetheless, their smooshed-together bricolage rock is served up with panache, tossed off with nonchalance. It feels natural. Their sonic cousins Glasvegas are left standing, looking stilted and affected. Different starting blocks, but Yuck’s rush parallels that of US outfits like the Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts.

And they’re not shy about admitting where their coming from. Although they came on stage to a Japanese song that sounded like a cross between Crosby, Stills & Nash and Caetano Veloso, the music that preceded them included My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Teenage Fanclub (which got a cheer from the crowd). A fair amount of the audience were greying and balding. Well-worn Smiths and Sonic Youth T-shirts were sported.

Although in their early twenties, Yuck attract folks who experienced this first time round. Their meta-music is record-collection rock, but they aren’t The Rutles. It’s not pastiche. They do it so damn well.

Watch Yuck perform “Holing Out” on Later... With Jools Holland


It's as if grunge had never happened, never made the nerds think twice about cloaking their pop in a wall of squall

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters