when the frontman of a critically-acclaimed indie rock band leaves to pursue a solo career after only one album, it usually spells the end of said band. this gives the surviving members the opportunity to find a replacement, change their name and style ever so slightly, and go on creating music with possible moderate success. all of that seems pretty time-consuming and kind of a gamble, though, so i don’t blame the three remaining members of yuck for sticking together under their original moniker and churning out a pleasant sophomore album.
glow & behold marks the departure of daniel blumberg and the emergence of max bloom as the band’s new frontman. people (pitchfork) may complain that the lack of blumberg’s personality detracts from the importance of the band, but it doesn’t seem to impact the yuck’s music. if their self-titled debut was an obvious nod to alternative rock heroes of the late 1980s and early 1990s, then glow & behold is, appropriately, an extension of that. a band searching for a modified identity does so admirably with standout tracks like “middle sea” and the slow-burning “rebirth,” while exploring slightly atmospheric realms on “sunrise in maple shade” and “twilight in maple shade (chinese cymbals),” two complementary instrumentals that bookend the album.
the slightly tiring quotations of the rock bands that everyone seems to pay homage to might get in the way of the long-term impact of yuck’s career, but there’s no denying that the band is capable of writing really catchy and diverse tunes, however derivative they might appear to some. i’d like to give a special shout out to whomever played trumpet on glow & behold; you seriously made this album that much more interesting and pleasing.
if you’re a diehard yuck fan, i don’t know what you’ll make of their newest effort. but if you’re inclined to give established musicians the benefit of the doubt, i think you’ll walk away from glow & behold humming at least one song to yourself, and then you’ll come back for more.