Yuck - Yuck
Actually, it is not just that, it just sounds so American generally. What we have here is nothing short of a paean to the likes of Dinosaur Jr. , Sonic Youth etc. The band claim to be influenced most by Pavement and the slowcore outfits like Sparklehorse and the Red House Painters. Well, the only connection I can see with the first two is the distinctly lo-fi production technique which creates the impression this was all recorded on a beat box It is a clever technique, if done well, and one which adds character, but it only serves to emphasise the American-ness of the sound. The problem is that in going for that lo-fi sound the band have emphasises the fuzziness of the guitars, leading to the inevitable and utterly tedious comparisons with shoegaze - because as all self-appointed musical gurus know, fuzzy guitars ARE shoegze.
But if there are doubts about where the spiritual origins of Yuck lie, then listen to the opening sequences of the first two tracks. Then try telling me that "Get Away" is not based on Dinosaur Jr.'s "Freak Scene" and "Operation" is just Sonic Youth's "Teenage Riot" put through the rehashing machine. But nobody makes music like this anymore, I hear you say. That's true, they don't. But they don't for a damn good reason - the world has moved on since those pre-grunge days. If you are going to revive something at least give it a new twist. Otherwise, all you are doing is copying what someone else has already done.
Now so far, you may be getting the impression that Yuck is one of those retro albums which aims to evoke the spirit of the late eighties and early nineties before grunge swept all before it. Well, you may be right. But there is another interpretation. Yuck is the product of a band who are too bloody lazy to do anything else. Start with the name - can't be bothered to think up a name for the album and hardly can raise the effort to think of a name for the band. And as for the cover, well, it is hardly Rembrandt is it? I'll bet it took them all of, oh, 30 seconds to design that one. Then there's the music - well the band can't even be bothered to come up with new ideas so they rehash old ones, and even use old tunes as well. Lyrics? Endless repetition of "Trying to make it through the wall" in "Operation" hardly constitutes innovation.
So, what is it to be? Is this a clever piece of homage to the band members' favourite sounds of the past, or the half-arsed product of sheer inability to think creatively? Well, I don't really know. And yet, oddly, there are times when I quite like it. Only in places, mind you. The opener is probably the best track on the album, and "Suicide Policeman" has some sort of almost sing-along charm about it that, despite its miserable theme, almost sounds happy. The problem with "Yuck" is that I never really cared for it the first time round. The old Dinosaur Jr. was, well, too raw for my delicate sensibilities and I never got the point of Sonic Youth. And don't even get me started on Pavement. So if I didn't like that, why should I like this? Truth is, Yuck is probably the best American Indie album of 1991. It's a bit late and you're on the wrong continent, guys.
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