Yuck struggle to cope with the departure of former frontman Daniel Blumberg.
Yuck have an often regaled backstory – they’re the guys from twee pop outfit Cajun Dance Party who actually turned out to be Pavement loving 90s nostalgics. Except that’s no longer the case. Lead singer Daniel Blumberg left earlier this year and rather than disband like many others before them, fellow former CDP member Max Bloom was promoted from bassist to front man. Herein lies tonight’s problem – Blumberg was chosen over Bloom to front both CDP and Yuck with good reason: he’s both more charismatic and a better singer. It’s no coincidence that the best songs of the night, such as ‘Georgia’ and ‘Get Away’ (complete with some impressive crowd-surfing for such a small venue), are those where Bloom seems to be making a concerted effort to mimic his old band mate.
For fan favourite ‘The Wall’ bassist Mariko Doi has a go at filling the Blumberg-shaped hole. Though she has a pleasing voice, her delivery of the lines leaves something to be desired – the trademark elongation of each last word is missing. This leaves the only remaining positive from the song as the almost too good to be true line “you can see me if you’re tall” repeated over and over in a venue where even your 6’4 reviewer struggles to catch a glimpse of the band over the crowd.
Just three songs from new album Glow and Behold make it into the admittedly short set but none stand up to comparison with songs from their debut. Bloom seems lost without Blumberg’s past vocals to mimic while the songs themselves just aren’t as strong. The dearth of new material almost seems like a tacit admission of Glow’s inferiority.
All that said, when Yuck get back to what they do best, as is the case on ‘Operation’ (it helps that this is the only song Bloom originally sang on), they can be a formidable band. The Dinosaur Jr. inspired closer provides a thoroughly enjoyable finish to a somewhat lacking overall set.