Following the somewhat tragic exit of adored vocalist Daniel Blumberg, fellow band member Max Bloom has stepped up to lead vocals for the highly anticipated second album, ‘Glow & Behold’. This album is much more reserved than the first, which oozed with lo-fi goodness. Instead the second album is mellower, but still lyrically intact and entwined with the undeniably great harmonies that have carried on from the previous LP.
The slowed down tempo found in the majority of the tracks feels as though Yuck have chosen a cleaner path, leaving the scuzzy, summery anthems behind for an album that feels colder yet crisper. One thing that isn’t lost is the continuation of the infectious melodies which are reasonably mesmerising in tracks such as ‘Middle Sea’, ‘Lose My Breath’ and ‘Memorial Fields’. These three tracks also stand out in terms of preserving the solid sound that was such an attention grabber on their self-titled debut album.
The album fades into a gentle 3 minute breeze of a repetitive, light-hearted instrumental that is pleasant. It’s almost in the wrong place though. For a second album you want to kick it off with an anthem, but I suppose ‘Sunrise in Maple Shade’ sets the tone for the rest of the album well. ‘Out of Time’ is gentle yet powerful with the sunshiney vibes coming out of the psych guitar and the harmonies, whilst the softness seeps out of Max’s vocals and the tempo, creating a bright, mid-November day.
The slower tracks on the album ‘Nothing New’, ‘Somewhere’ and ‘How Does It Feel’ are easy listening but not so exciting. This is where Blumberg’s charm comes in. It’s difficult for me to say that Max Bloom hasn’t lived up to the high anticipation, but maybe we were all just a little too expectant. ‘How Does It Feel’ does have a lovely, screaming guitar solo at the end that does leave the track on a good note, but generally, the down-tempo songs don’t stand out.
I can’t end this on a negative note though. The album is still great. The singles released so far (Rebirth/Middle Sea) are fantastic, trimmed with hallucinogenic guitars and magical vocals/harmonies that do create a late-summer haze. Glow & Behold is safe, pleasant and wonderfully nostalgic at times, and even though Blumberg has walked away, the band seem more cohesive than ever, and the tight production shown on their second album reiterates the effort and the goodness that can be found after a few listens.
Words: Cerys Kenneally