Published Feb 24, 2016Undervalued in Yuck's music is their tendency to quietly oscillate between cheery and dissonant. On the third release from the London quartet, Stranger Things, the habit is more apparent than ever, even within individual songs.
As on their previous records, Yuck's influences, ranging from Dinosaur Jr. to Smashing Pumpkins, are easily recognizable, but the reverence they show thereto is sometimes detrimental to Yuck really establishing their own sound. Closer "Yr Face" drips with warmth, but it's more nostalgia for My Bloody Valentine's reverb ooze than a sonic statement of their own.
Although establishing a connection to the band's identity proves challenging, the reflective tracks on the record's latter half provide a series of bright moments. Bassist Mariko Doi plays vocalists comfortably on "As I Walk Away," her echoing lines melting over mid-tempo drums while gentle whirling guitars strum along, and Max Bloom returns to the mic for "Swirling" with a melody that embodies their delicate balance between light and dark.
Fuzzy garage tracks like "Cannonball" and "I'm Ok" provide the closest approximation of Yuck's sound, but they remain comfortable and somewhat predictable. There's an overemphasis on influences here that makes Stranger Things more recognizably likeable than imaginative. (Mame Records)