Click on any image to enlarge | Photographs courtesy of Sonny Malhotra
Did I miss something? Do we not clap or dance at gigs anymore? Is that no longer the done thing? Do we instead offer up the alternative of shifting awkwardly, praying that no one calls upon us for any kind of enthusiasm whilst staring at our shoes as the tumbleweed floats on by? No? We are still free to clap and dance et al if we want to? Maybe someone should have told tonight’s Lexington crowd that before the London based five piece Echo Lake shuffled nervously onto the stage.
Stepping out for what is only their 8th show to date, the young purveyors of ambient dream pop generate a subtly infectious soundscape that softly drifts forth from the speakers. Fuzzy guitars and ghostly vocals populate the warm rhythm of ‘In Dreams’ whilst sparse percussion and a howling hook punctuate the swirling feedback of former TLOBF Song Of The Day ‘Young Silence’. The lacklustre crowd definitely detracts something from the show tonight, as I struggle to look past the generally disinterested expressions around me, towards the soft sweeping shoegaze infused beauty of Echo Lake’s melodies.
Barely managing a cheer as they take to the stage for their sold out, headline show Yuck launch into the howling, buzzing guitar number that is ‘The Wall’ with its contagious hook, blistering instrumental crashes and simple refrain. Guitarist Max Bloom and singer Daniel Blumberg stop for a breath on the gentler sweeping harmony of ‘Suicide Policeman’ as drummer Jonny Rogoff yells “we’re Yuck and we’re here to play some songs for you…for an hour and a half…for three hours and a half.” Having rocked up late, the prospect of playing an hour and half set is obviously as ridiculous as that of a three and half hour set without the material to fill it. Nevertheless, for the hour that they’re on stage Yuck offer up ferocious and gritty slices of anarchic indie rock with ‘Rubber’ and brand new song ‘Milkshake.’
Luckily, as I found myself wondering when in the hell they were going to get around to releasing a full-length album, Rogoff announces that they finished recording yesterday as he delves straight into the thunderous drums of ‘Operation’. Bloom curls over his guitar, frantically strumming against the crackling feedback and epic noise of extended the instrumentals before they jolt to a finish. White noise fizzes through the air underneath the low, nasal murmuring and vocal drone as the lights flicker and the feedback loop from Mariko Doi’s bass echoes until the very end.
Yuck are easily one of my favourite bands of the year and have of course been on the radar for quite some time now: the shoegaze inspired grunge revival of live highlight ‘Georgia’ capturing a lost analogue sound. Perhaps it is the accolades and hype surrounding this young quartet, (born of Cajun Dance Party), that are to blame for tonight’s audience of passing fancy as opposed to genuine interest. I just hope Yuck can convert enough of the former to the latter to avoid collapsing under the weight of the ‘Next Big Thing’ tag, as Bloom and Blumberg’s previous incarnation did.
With a sound akin to The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and Teenage Fanclub all meshed into one, how can you not want this band to hang around? Only time and next year’s album release will tell if they have the stamina but in the meantime would it kill you people to clap, cheer and jump around a little bit?