To their detractors, the indie band Yuck are an insufferably twee, irredeemably derivative band whose reliance on the past is intolerable even in these retrograde times. To the band's supporters however, Yuck's music is at worst a bit of undemanding fun and, at best, melodically sophisticated, adroitly performed and - at times - outright exciting.
Those detractors (of which, presumably, there are very few in the sold-out crowd which packed Camden's Electric Ballroom) might have an easier time understanding the appeal of Yuck if they saw the band play live.
For a start, Yuck's rather limp lyrics (exemplified by the likes of "Panoramic view / That's one thing I won't do" and, er, "It's just the way that I feel / It's just the way that I feel") become practically inaudible underneath layers of feedback and fuzz. In addition, when presented with Yuck's songs in their rawest and noisiest forms, the audience spends less time thinking about which of Teenage Fanclub, Superchunk and Dinosaur Jr Yuck sound most like, and more time losing themselves in the music's melodic exuberance.
Yuck's catalogue consists of only one album and a handful of singles and attendant B-sides. Yet their output is actually pretty eclectic for a band so obviously in throes to the pantheon of nineties indie rock. Get Away's grasp of stop-start/loud-quiet dynamics is worthy of Pixies comparisons; Georgia is a gorgeously saccharine blend of Dinosaur Jr, The Cure and The New Pornographers, while the lovely, lilting Suicide Policeman and the slow-burning Rubber prove that Yuck can still enthral when their tempos decrease.
If there's a criticism to be made, it's that the pacing of the gig is a little off. The band ought to have spread their cluster of indie disco rave-ups (Get Away, Georgia, Operation, The Wall) a little more evenly across the set; as it was, all of those were dispensed of with two songs remaining, meaning that the gig fizzled out a little prematurely.
No matter: this was a show that embodied all of the qualities that makes Yuck's debut album so infectious. This isn't epoch-defining music, but it is honest, unpretentious and unashamedly enjoyable. The advice to Yuck's pesky detractors is simple: stop worrying about whom they sound like and learn to love how they sound.