It’s tough sometimes to decipher a band’s true intentions or divine its motivation when releasing a record -- especially when the bandmembers are so influenced by a sound or an era that you can’t tell if their appropriation is based on love or cynicism. Take the current wave of shoegazers, for example. Hiring Vaughan Oliver to design your album cover or hiring Alan Moulder to mix your CD is the kind of cynical shortcut that makes it easy for the even the most casual observer to decide which category you fit into. On the other hand, being a bunch of kids who seem way too innocent most likely means you are not motivated by anything but a pure love and admiration for your effects pedal-collecting forerunners. We’re speaking of Yuck and their excellent debut album. The group displays a firm grasp of all the things that make noise pop and/or shoegaze so great, like dynamics, male/female vocal tradeoffs, a bitter romantic lyrical outlook, and tons of pedals and guitars. Yuck is overloaded with loud, fuzzy guitars that whine and grind through the songs, just like they should. Songs like the mightily rocked-out "Get Away" and the raging "Holing Out" would make J Mascis proud, maybe even wake him up. Yuck's axe handlers Max Bloom and Daniel Blumberg no doubt have studied his works closely, and it shows. Along with the ferocity comes restraint too, and the record is dotted with quieter songs like “Shook Down” and “Suck,” which show the band can succeed as much without loads of volume. In fact, when you break it down, almost half the album is made up of restrained jangle and melancholy mope -- and if you are a student of this kind of music, you’ll remember that Dinosaur Jr. and My Bloody Valentine always had just as many ballads as they did rockers. Good for Yuck that they capture both the overloaded and tender sides of the style so well. On the album-ending “Rubber,” they even give the sound a twist by stretching out to epic length and creating all sorts of drama and tension out of a hugely ugly and grungy guitar drone that sounds like muck oozing down a flight of stairs. Yuck is an impressively assured debut from such a young band. Their love of shoegaze and loud/quiet '90s guitar rock is unadulterated and it translates into the songs and the sound, making it a pure and easy-to-love album for all those who have ever been fans themselves.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra