A Band with Its Influences on Its Sleeve

May 9th, 2011

Yuck – The Bowery Ballroom – May 7, 2011

Yuck took the stage at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom beneath a hand-painted banner—a simple statement for a band probably just getting used to this level of attention. Saturday’s show was the last US date before Yuck returns home for another sold-out show in London. Their self-titled album on Fat Possum, released just three months ago, seems to have struck a few universal chords with fans on both sides of the pond.

A surprising match, with Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom from London, Mariko Doi from Hiroshima and current drummer Jonny Rogoff from, of all places, New Jersey, the group is comprised of left-of-center outcasts who happened to find in each other a love for the golden age of indie rock, and they emulate those sounds like only those barely old enough to have originally witnessed them can. The band’s been hailed as the second coming of Dinosaur Jr. or Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth, a true melting pot of growing up with the alternative-’90s sounds. Like with Brooklyn’s Blood on the Wall, the fond references are clear, but reinterpreted with a modern perspective, keeping an ear on solid songwriting.

Yuck, dressed in matching blue shirts, had an effortless pop ease that’s evident in early Pavement singles. But not trying to reinvent what works is how this young band stands out. Instead the four play songs they sincerely love. Almost too tall for the microphone, Blumberg delivered vocals hunched over, while Bloom played the melodic, fuzzy leads over Doi’s catchy basslines and harmonies. And in ending the show with the epic layered drone of “Rubber,” the group conjured up a My Bloody Valentine wall of sound to round out a perfect homage to their influences, a nostalgic mixtape of an era. —Jason Dean