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Yuck + Alvvays

Critics' pick
Photograph: courtesy Force Field PR
Yuck

Upon releasing its self-titled debut in 2011, Yuck was pegged as the second coming of Pavement or My Bloody Valentine. But the London four-piece is no throwback: The familiar palette of droning guitar and fuzzy noise portrays an original world. Here, words and guitar elongate and blur into immersive landscapes of repetition and reverberation best appreciated via whole albums. Listening to them closely, beginning to end, is akin to eavesdropping; the band’s full-lengths have the quality of conversation among intimates.

Yuck closed on “Rubber,” a seven-minute expression of creative surrender: “Put me on a chain and change my name / Lead me to the place that I need to go / Yes, I give in.” That yielding led to last fall’s Glow & Behold. With Daniel Blumberg leaving to focus on solo work, this is at core a new Yuck. In contrast with the pouty surf-punk posturing that characterized Blumberg’s singing, current frontman Max Bloom delivers a more straightforward vocal style. The album touches repeatedly on the push and pull of desire, but the overall sound is gentler, with the occasional brightness of brass instruments. Even where Yuck revels, like kids in a schoolyard, in its home turf of lush, guitar-driven dreaminess, the feel is more stargazing than shoegazing. The evolution continues with a just-announced EP, slated for spring.—Kate Crane

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