Yuck were a gloriously fun band.
Prior to Glow & Behold, the band’s low-key second album, the London based four-piece were a band abuzz with hype. Their self-titled debut album was filled with so many perfectly crafted pop songs that their live sets practically felt like a greatest hits tour – ‘The Wall’, ‘Georgia’, and ‘Get Away’ to name but a few which became festival highlights in 2011. What set them apart was a distinctively distorted, fuzzy sound that at the time, even now, just isn’t heard in such a bold capacity.
After that, however, things got a little bit weird. Glow & Behold was much more understated than the debut and as such Yuck’s buzz died down. Meanwhile, rumours suggested that the band became anxious with second album pressure. Whatever happened, a guitarist dropped out along the way and the band had to re-find their feet.
With Stranger Things, the band’s new album, the fun is definitely back.
Straight from the off, ‘Hold Me Closer’ shows the band’s intent. It’s a big, anthemic opening that most importantly is maxed out on fuzz – the guitars, the vocals, everything – exactly how we like it. ‘Cannonball’, the album’s second track, builds on this momentum and takes the tempo up to riotous levels. It’s worth noting that whilst Yuck are known for high tempo distorted pop tracks, none of them have ever had quite the drive that’s present on Stranger Things – it’s a new look and it works well.
Stranger Things isn’t all blood and thunder however. With ‘Like A Moth’, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘As I Walk Away’, and ‘Swirling’ the band have again tried to show their melancholic side. Unlike on Glow & Behold, the band look to approached this with more confidence and as such are much more convincing in doing do – ‘As I Walk Away’ in particular is a perfect song to wallow to.
Confidence, I think, is the key here.
Whilst their self-titled debut was filled with glorious pop songs, they carried more of a nervous shoe-gazing vibe to them – as if never wanting to look up and see how many people were listening. With Stranger Things that shyness has gone. ‘Hearts In Motion’, ‘Cannonball’, and ‘Hold Me Closer’ are all anthems that are played with conviction – a knowing that people will not only listen but sing the words back to them.
The success of their third album should be no surprise, Yuck demonstrated long ago that they can be a fabulous band, but to see a band come of age so explicitly is almost as heart warming as the lyrics to ‘Hold Me Closer’.
Overall Stranger Things is a glorious return to form – full of fizz and fun and fuzziness – that sees a band find their feet right in front of your ears.