When Daniel Blumberg parted ways with Yuck earlier this year, it created a few interesting narratives. How do you self-correct when your frontman and principle songwriter flakes? The most obvious answer is you turn to the next best in-house option. Guitarist Max Bloom isn’t a slouch by any means, in fact he penned two of the strongest songs on the bands debut album (the perky, spring-loaded “Operation” and the striking instrumental “Rose Gives a Lily”). The quantity was the concern. Was Bloom just content to take a backseat to Blumberg, or was it because he’s a slow worker who isn’t productive enough to fill in the lead role? Based on the strength of “Rebirth,” the answer seems like it’s somewhere in the middle.
Overt symbolism aside, Yuck appear have moved on from Blumberg. Their sound has remained grounded in the same era that their debut paid such loving homage to. The guitar-heavy distortion of Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth is all but gone; in its place, the candied swirl of shoegaze that only accentuates the clarity of Bloom’s voice. This is “Rubber” if it were major key. The stand-alone strength of “Rebirth” suggests that Yuck still have a hole or two to plug, but it’s still punctuated with the easy sort of melodicism that made their debut so loveable.