Yuck - Glow And Behold [Album]


With the departure of former lead singer Daniel Blumberg, guitarist Max Bloom has had big shoes to fill as the new Yuck frontman. The band’s 2011 debut was well received for all its risk-taking and the energy that came from it. While Glow and Behold is a valiant effort to press onward—and ultimately works as a concept album about moving on from the past—it tries to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump by playing it too safe sans Blumberg.

We open with ‘Sunrise in Maple Shade’ (a place we’ll be returning later), an instrumental building with acoustic and electric guitars, keyboard, and trumpet hits. This song brings to mind sitting in a field with your buddies after a night of excessive partying, with the sun gradually peeking overhead. The addition of keyboards and trumpet here, which will reappear later in the album, is a welcome expansion in lieu of Blumberg’s departure. The next song, ‘Out of Time’, waxes 90s rock nostalgia with a bit of Theremin added in. Although Bloom is perfectly fine adding more instruments to the mix, the album’s sound is noticeably toned down from the previously bombastic, lo-fi grit that allowed Yuck to own its name.

That isn’t to say there aren’t traces of the old, dirtier Yuck to be found. ‘Middle Sea’ proves the most fast-paced, energetic song on Glow that comes closest to matching 2011’s ‘The Wall’. Here Bloom sings, “I don’t want to wait forever / I don’t want to wait / I want it now.” This theme is a common thread in the album: a battle-cry against circumstances beyond your control. ‘Rebirth’, the album’s second-released single, fully embraces a My Bloody Valentine aesthetic and hurls sheets of sound that develop further with a great hi-hat and snare combo towards the end. These songs, along with the title track, prove to be the strongest of the album, while others like ‘Lose My Breath’, ‘Somewhere’, and ‘Nothing New’ don’t hold nearly as much weight.

‘Twilight in Maple Shade’ takes us back to the same spot where we were earlier in the day. Though the surroundings are different to what we saw the first time round, and it doesn’t offer the same comforts as before. It’s a more brooding instrumental track that signifies the album’s underlying core of adjusting and moving on from a past that still has a hold on you. The final track ‘Glow and Behold’, starts infectiously and conjures an Elliot Smith songwriting style. Overall Glow is an album about falling out of love and readjusting to new settings, as one of the most powerful lines espouses: “It’s hard to say goodbye and open up your eyes.” It’s a call to shed burdens and reclaim the self, which is what the remaining members of Yuck are striving to do here.

Glow and Behold ends as if a record needle is stuck looping and needs to be changed. Much like the feelings you inherit post-breakup, the album can keep going as long as you want; but in the end you need to get up and flip the damn needle up-and-off to truly move on. In order to step out of the first album’s shadow and forge ahead, Bloom & Co need to be more adventurous. While Glow narrowly avoids the sophomore slump label, Yuck is still caught in the reinventing stage.

By Cory Healy