Yuck | Pop review

Hope, Brighton

Recently, there's been talk of a grunge revival. It's an intriguing idea, not merely for its ability to make a music fan of a certain vintage feel as old as the Flying Dutchman, but because it might be the final rock genre left to revive. The progress of rock music has slowed, so everything that came after grunge is still with us, and the early 90s is the last era that might look alien to a teenager in 2010.

The London-based quartet Yuck have been advanced as part of the revival, but within seconds of them shambling into life on stage, it becomes clear that's not quite the case. It's not grunge they are reviving so much as the music that immediately preceded it: more tuneful, less codified and angst-ridden. Guitars howl through wah-pedals, vocals float lethargically over the top. They are Dinosaur Jr Jr, the teenage Teenage Fanclub.

You can understand how lackadaisical slacker rock might appeal to at least two of Yuck's members. Guitarist Max Bloom and singer Daniel Blumberg were formerly in Cajun Dance Party, a band catapulted into the Next Big Thing lists before they had even left school. With a certain inevitability, they collapsed beneath the weight of unreasonable expectations shortly after their debut album came out.

Yuck's hand-painted banner hangs cock-eyed and limp, their patter is largely concerned with mistakes in the preceding song. It would be easy to coolly dismiss, but the old tricks still work – there's something thrilling about the edge-of-chaos guitar solo – and the songs are largely fantastic: Bloom and Blumberg retain their gift for rich melodies. Where a band so devoted to the past for their sound might head in the future is a matter for debate, but for the moment, they seem as exciting as listlessness can get.


Alexis Petridis

The GuardianTramp

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