Glow & Behold
The death of the Rock Star may be benefiting this generation's rock bands when it comes to their evolution. When Van Halen swapped preening peacock David Lee Roth for the more standard wailer Sammy Hagar, the music community was up in arms. Van Halen would never be the same again (even when Roth came back in the '90s and the teens). But what of a relatively successful, humble shoegaze group? In the season of miracles that brought us a new My Bloody Valentine album, Britain's Yuck tiptoed back into the spotlight after parting with original lead singer Daniel Blumberg. Would the resulting album, Glow & Behold, be a major departure from Yuck's blissfully churning sound, or would the remaining threesome (guitarist Max Bloom, bassist Mariko Doi and drummer Jonny Rogoff) stick to the formula? Though the volume and distortion have been nudged down, Yuck stays gorgeously yucky on Glow & Behold. Bloom steps into the lead role with an amble and a wiggly smile, and that "aw, shucks" nature has a Belle & Sebastian aura to it. The title track plays like a delightful Stevie Jackson B&S contribution-- a little twee but just weary enough to not float away in its lightness. For those seeking more grounded works, try the excellent single "Middle Sea." All riveting alterna-rock guitars and pitch-perfect harmonies by Bloom and Doi, this number purrs. Its rubbery riff and splash drumming by Rogoff will send listeners back in time to when rock stars mattered. Congrats, Max Bloom. Your moment in the sun, even if it's partly cloudy, has come.