The second studio long player from the Aussie six-piece, Yuck finds Alpine doubling down on the cosmopolitan, Ibiza-ready synth-pop side of their 2012 debut, offering up an immaculately crafted ten-track set that's so judicious in its sonic precision it almost doesn't register. The band has been tagged "antiseptic" in the past, but the term is unfairly punitive. In an age where anybody with a laptop and a microphone can put out a record, it's sometimes nice to hear a fussed-over studio production where the parts are treated with respect and the overall vision is achieved through hard work and not just dumb luck. At its best, Yuck bristles with a pronounced yet harmless current of pure pop energy, resulting in stand-out cuts like the breezy single "Foolish," the appropriately liquid sounding "Jellyfish," and the driving "Standing Not Sleeping, the latter of which strikes a nice balance between the staccato-guitar driven sound of A Is for Alpine and the band's more R&B and dance-pop-influenced predilections. Whatever vestige of the post-punk leanings of 2012 remain are delivered via Christian O'Brien's nervy and often unpredictable guitar lines, which work well against Phoebe Baker and Lou James' fluid and unfettered voices, but two albums in, and the Melbourne-based unit is beginning to live up to the chilly promise of its mountain peak-derived moniker. Yuck may be bereft of any edges, but it's devilishly clever sophisti-pop disguised as big- box shopping center background music.
by James Christopher Monger