Reviewed by: Matt Kelchner
Three years ago London ’90s revivalists Yuck released Glow and Behold. The album marked their first without singer and main songwriter Daniel Blumberg. The remaining members – Mariko Doi, Jonathan Rogoff and Max Bloom, along with guitarist Ed Hayes, set out to show that life for the band would continue. Fast forward to today and we find the London group with Stranger Things, their third and follow up to their “rising phoenix” record. The release showcases Yuck venturing outside their trademark fuzzy overdrive to bolster and strengthen their new identity.
Recorded on a bare bones budget in the same spot as their first album was made, Bloom’s parents’ house, Yuck took things completely in house while making Stranger Things. With creative control in their hands the band were free to explore uncharted musical territories. And explore they did. Songs like “Like A Moth” are filled with lush harmonies and a do-wop feel. The album’s closer, “Yr Face” shows Yuck attempting to out do Kevin Shields in a six-plus minute slow burning shoegaze masterpiece. Then there’s “As I Walk Away”, the first song where Bloom hands vocal duties off – in this case to bassist Mariko Doi.
With all that said there is still a lot of what fans know and love about Yuck featured on Stranger Times as well. The album starts off with “Hold Me Closer”, a track that was first released last year yet could easily fit in Glow and Behold or their self titled debut. It’s followed up with fast paced, up tempo tune “Cannonball”, another that blends right it with their past work. Mixing well written melodies while not skimping on distortion has always been a strength for group and the streak continues on.
While it may not be groundbreaking, a lot of ground is covered in an album that clocks in at just over 45 minutes. Stranger Times shows a band that has put their past behind them. So far behind that it’s just a speck in the rear view mirror.