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New Music: Yuck

By Emilie Medland-Marchen, March 29 2016

Lo-fi ‘90s revivalists Yuck return with Stranger Things, their first album in three years. After exploring a poppier sound in 2013’s Glow and Behold, the band returns to their roots with a noisy but articulate sound reminiscent of early ‘90s alt-rock groups like Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. ENT_Yuck_Border

The album starts with “Hold Me Closer,” a relaxed tune with a heavily reverbed guitar intro and noisy vocals. In general, the band’s vocal work has become clearer since their 2011 self-titled debut, an album whose ambitious instrumentals drowned out the vocals of lead singer Daniel Blumberg.

After this chilled-out intro, the album moves into “Cannonball,” a track that adds surf pop vibes to the band’s early explorations. The song’s lyrics are repetitive, but the punctuated drum beat is bound to get stuck in your head.

Next up is “Like a Moth,” which maintains a careful balance between nonchalant lyricism and tight instrumentals to create a nostalgic tone. It’s a song meant for cool summer nights, and is bound to take the listener back to high school days of rebellion and don’t-give-a-shit attitudes. The band’s apathetic approach is oddly endearing.

“Only Silence” is the album’s biggest hit, channeling an easy-going West Coast indie sound with dreamy guitar riffs. The following “I’m OK” is the band’s obligatory angsty ballad. While it doesn’t offer much in terms of innovation, it’s a catchy track that reveals the band at their best.

“Hearts in Motion” comes towards the end of the album and best resembles the band’s early sound. Blumberg’s disjointed vocals are drowned out in the same vein as songs like “Get Away” from Yuck’s debut.

Stranger Things may not be the most memorable album, but it’s a strong comeback after a disappointing sophomore effort that experimented with a sentimental pop sound.

The band still hasn’t returned to the edgy sound that defined their debut — already a modern-day classic — but they strike a nice balance between the two albums. Together, these elements make Stranger Things a solid addition to any summer playlist.

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