**PIC Blur-endorsed Icelandic duo move from techno to post-punk on an itchy claustrophobic debut
Yuck - 'Glow & Behold'
A new singer, and a new subtlety, but the slacker-pop crew’s second suffers from an oomph shortage
As the pretty bad pun of this record’s title suggests, the 11 tracks on ‘Glow & Behold’ glow rather than growl. Instead of being covered with the scuzzy, dirty fuzz that coated their debut, they’re cleaner and more clinical. The upbeat ‘Middle Sea’ retains some of the murkiness of old, with Bloom’s angular vocals dancing as sludgy guitars thrash out a driving rhythm. But for the most part, this is an exercise in gentle, flowing melodies and soothing, sun-drenched songs. It’s a change in direction that ‘Sunrise In Maple Shade’, the lilting instrumental opener, gently eases the listener into. Bloom’s voice, too, is much softer than Blumberg’s, lending these songs a more syrupy, saccharine glaze. At times, as on the summery shoegaze of ‘Lose My Breath’ and the carefree dreaminess of ‘Out Of Time’ or ‘Memorial Fields’, this shift in direction sparkles with style and heart. Largely, though, the verve that made their debut exciting is, unfortunately, AWOL.
‘Rebirth’ and ‘Somewhere’ drift along dreamily, but both lack conviction. Slacker-pop bands need to feel what they’re playing, and here it sounds like Yuck just aren’t invested in these songs. The lacklustre jangle of ‘Nothing New’ is precisely that, while ‘How Does It Feel’ is a ’60s dirge, replete with Bacharach-style horns, that trudges gleefully into MOR territory. Oddly, the saccharine title track that closes the album sounds like a Cast B-side, and rams home Yuck’s identity crisis. Somewhere beneath the unconvincing sheen of these songs there’s a great band trying to break out. Maybe next time.
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