Saturday, 26 February 2011

Yuck (gig review for Concrete Newspaper)

In the flesh Yuck are a pretty languid bunch; the unnervingly bird-like Max Bloom lopes about the stage swinging his guitar on the occasional off-beat, Mariko Doi hides behind her impressive fringe, and Jonny Rogoff perches behind a transparent drum kit, revelling in the awesomeness of his voluminous afro. In fact the hair of Yuck is definitely worth a mention; there’s an impressive array of barnets on show, spanning the entire hair spectrum, from thinning tuftiness (apologies Daniel Blumberg) across wiry tangles and thick fringes, ending up at the aforementioned incredible ‘fro. The hair isn’t the only thing that’s brilliant about Yuck though; their set at the Arts Centre is incredible. Kicking off with the single ‘Holing Out’, Yuck are on a mission tonight. Unlike a lot of bands, they let the music do the talking; the banter between tracks is awkward and insipid, but endearingly so. Blumberg has an unidentified liquid thrown over him at one point; cue a mumbled “please don’t do that… if something goes wrong, or I get electrocuted and die, erm it’s your fault I guess”.

With noise on the sheer scale that Yuck achieve, witty rapport isn’t really needed; the foursome make walls of epic, fuzzy guitar, with piercing riffs a-plenty. ‘Get Away’ and ‘The Wall’ are thudding, dusty diamonds, perfect pop with just the right lack of polish. They’re not just good at noisiness though; some of the better tracks start off as relatively constrained, tender melodies, before building into more raucous, riff-based affairs - ‘Suicide Policeman’ is gorgeously restrained. ‘Shook Down’ starts off in a similar manner, but has a guitar solo at the end that probably couldn’t be much more euphoric.

Yuck’s real talent lies in their ability to balance the two positives against each other; their final track, ‘Rubber’, is literally incredible. Slowly building from dischordant strumming into what can only be described a sort of mental fuzzy thrashing, it perfectly demonstrates the underlying ability behind Yuck; their ability to balance the euphoric guitar riffs and solos against melancholic vocals and solid, restrained drum patterns, then just when a track is becoming predictable, collapsing into a beautiful, perfect, hazy mess.

 Yuck - Get Away

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