Yuck—despite also being a descriptor for things that are unsavory or way gross—are an indie band from across the pond that will satiate your Clinton-era nostalgia. Their music has been hailed as college rock, weaving alternative influences from the late 1980s and '90s with a healthy dose of new melodic thrills. Yuck experienced a serious change in their seating chart last April as frontman Danny Blumberg called it quits and left the band—an alteration that normally spells out certain death for a band (unless your band is Van Halen or INXS or something). Guitarist Max Bloom has since stepped up to the microphone, and the group's sophomore album, Glow & Behold, features Bloom's soft, lilting vocals. Because of the confusion often associated with Yuck the band and "Yuck!" the declarative statement, I've pitted my top three favorite Yuck songs against their actual yucky counterparts to highlight their distinctive differences.
"Chew": Released as a single in 2012, this is a gravelly, '90s-revival guitar-rock song through and through, with one hand whammying that whammy bar and the other saluting Dinosaur Jr. All those crunchy, fuzzy effects and the echoing repetition of "We chew it together" very nearly situate this song on the "literally yucky" side of the spectrum, but the dreamy vocals and gratifying sinkhole of a melody keep it firmly planted in the Yuck (band) category.
Chewing: Although chewing is an unavoidable exercise in survival—and as much as we all enjoy cramming a hot slice of pizza into our gobs, or the crisp crunch of an apple—sometimes watching other people chew is gross! Listening to someone smack their chops as they turn solids into liquids inside their mouth (or barely-solids into liquids, as remnants of mashed potato creep out the corners) is stomach-churning. Don't get me wrong: I live to chew, but a sloppy maw full of gravy is sickening when it isn't mine.
"Rebirth": From Yuck's Glow & Behold comes a lush and rollicking song whose sweeping melody chugs steadily along its starry-eyed shoegazey path. The tune is interspersed with celebratory cymbals that create the sensation of being pleasantly slow-motion heave-ho'd into a body of water. The lyrics align accordingly with this feeling of descent: "Go down, I'd wanna go down." Have you ever taken muscle relaxers? Me neither, but this sounds like how I imagine that would feel.
Actually Giving Birth: Laboriously expelling a super-clingy life force through your birth canal is infinitely less agreeable than this song, except for the mess of free drugs you're allotted and that whole bringing-new-life-into-the-world thing (granted, that "life" will be screaming and shitting, and will grow up to say things like "Screw you, Mom!" as they drive away in your car). The song "Rebirth," however, is completely painless and would never cause you to defecate on your baby.
"Rubber": This song punctuates Yuck's self-titled 2011 album with a heavy dirge of reverberating guitars overlaid with desperate chanting vocals and almost indecipherable mutterings. It's a tuneful car crash of a song, creeping along its mournful trajectory ("Should I give in? If I put rubber in your hand, would you make me into a man?") until it reaches its resolution ("Yes, I give in") in a frenetic collision of sounds.
Rubbers: Condoms, I'm sure we can all agree, are necessary (see: Actually Giving Birth) but unappetizing nonetheless. The antiseptic scent of latex, the squelchy "snap" sound as they're removed, and the terror that surfaces upon finding one untied in your personal space all locate used rubbers under the soggy umbrella of "yuck" and not Yuck.