yuckYuck at The Workman’s Club, Dublin, on April 30th 2014

Yuck are in a somewhat unusual situation. After the band’s brilliant eponymous 2011 debut, lead singer Daniel Blumberg departed, thus ripping the heart out of the group’s sound. Despite this, Yuck have continued to make music, but last year’s ‘Glow and Behold’, while not a bad album, just wasn’t up to the same standard as ‘Yuck’. So the question that we have to ask is has Yuck’s live sound suffered from the loss of Blumberg as much as their studio sound has?

Holing Out is bright start for the band with the hard-hitting rock number driving a sense of urgency and energy into the show, and the phaser effect during the chorus softens the song nicely. Out Of Time is a cool, spaced-out number, before the bluster and power of the irresistible Get Away kicks in. The track, the band’s most successful, is played surprisingly early on in the set, and is a stunner, opening with the rumbling of a wah-wah pedal before launching into its fantastic riff.

Despite the impressive instrumentation, the vocals are weak, and do little to hold the listener’s attention. Bloom’s voice just isn’t interesting and is often lost beneath the guitars. The band do manage to pull off a brilliant cover of New Order’s Age Of Consent with this guitar and distortion heavy version providing a fresh take on the synth based original, and the momentum is maintained by the gloriously raucous Operation, where Bloom gives his guitar to a member of the audience who gets onstage and waves it around a bit. It’s a unique way to end the set, before an encore of Georgia, a set highlight with the catchy riffs that have been rife throughout the show appearing again, while the harmonies between Bloom and Doi provide an exciting vocal performance.

Yuck’s performance sounds almost like a collection of all the sounds that characterised alternative rock of the ’80s and ’90s. Twangy, catchy Pavement-esque guitars feature on Out Of Time, grungey fast-paced sounds make an appearance on The Wall, while Rebirth includes waves of distorted, bendy guitars à la My Bloody Valentine. The problem is the band can’t add anything exciting or interesting to these styles, with bland vocals failing to do anything for the music. There are a few moments where the band prove their worth, and the group have a wide variety of loud-quiet, fast-slow in their set, but the older tracks remain the highlights of the show, and with that in mind, you have to wonder where the band can go from here.