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January 23, 2014 at 11:10 AM

London’s young Yuck lives its indie-rock dreams | Concert preview

Yuck

Yuck, from left: Mariko Doi, Max Bloom, Jonny Rogoff. The English band plays Neumos Friday. Photo by Jon Bergman.

To the delight of nostalgic 1990s types, recent times have seen a proliferation of up-and-coming guitar-rockers actually born in the ‘90s.

Falling squarely into this category is Yuck, a British group that’s lived a charmed existence in its five years together. The foursome, which headlines Neumos Friday, just toured Europe with The Pixies, an experience bandleader Max Bloom calls “the height of my career, and my life.”

Speaking from his north-east London flat, the affable singer-guitarist deconstructs the influences behind Yuck’s first two records — 2011’s self-titled, and last year’s “Glow & Behold.”

“I’m obsessed with bands that play with lots of noise and energy,” he says, “but with beautiful melodies running through that. Dinosaur Jr. My Bloody Valentine. Sonic Youth. Teenage Fanclub. And Big Star’s ‘#1 Record’ is an album I’m in awe of. I listen to it over and over, trying to figure out how they did it.”

That Yuck hails from the land of The Beatles and Britpop — rather than, say, Athens or Chapel Hill — adds intrigue. For its members, however, it’s also meant dealing with the notoriously fairweather U.K. music press, which praised the fuzzed-out, flannel-flying debut, only to declare the band over when co-founder and lead singer Daniel Blumberg quit last spring.

“People assumed Daniel left and took our old sound with him,” sighs Bloom. But like its touchstone Big Star, Yuck, too, he notes, had “always been a dual-songwriter band. The life and soul of the band was not in the form of Daniel.”

The new LP, with Bloom on vocals, is the unmistakable sound of maturation. Where “Yuck” came off like the work of excitable teens raiding their cool older sibling’s college-rock seven-inch collection, “Glow” exchanges much of that grit and noisiness for ebb-and-flow guitar-pop that doesn’t align itself as closely with a certain era.

Yet to claim Yuck has softened is to discount material like the jangly “Lose My Breath” (listen), woozy “Rebirth” (listen) and especially the distortion-drenched single “Middle Sea” (listen).

It’s not a flawless album — its sleepy B-side could stand to lose a track or two — but it’s a nice document of a group striving to define its identity, writing some quality songs in the process.

As for whether the so-called ‘90s revival is real or imagined, Bloom laughs.

“That kind of label is something I’m fully aware of. Since we’ve been a band, I’ve seen it grow. While it doesn’t affect the music we’re making — we don’t sit around and talk about it — I understand and can relate to it, because, as a cultural thing, it’s pretty exciting.”

Yuck, Ephrata
9 p.m. Friday at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $13 (206-709-9467 or neumos.com)

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: indie, London, Neumos

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