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Kim Gillespie talks to Yuck's Max Bloom ahead of their one-off New Zealand gig

Unless you're allergic to noise, the name Yuck doesn't really suit this north London five-piece.

In fact, despite the distortion, fuzz, feedback and guitar squeal found on their debut self-titled album, what Yuck are really about, Max Bloom tells me, is melody.

"We all prefer melodic music," the guitarist and vocalist says. "Melody is really important [compared with] rhythm."


Yuck will bring some of that melody to these shores in January when they play at the indie-rock extravaganza St Jerome's Laneway Festival in Auckland.

I ask Bloom, who's on the phone in the middle of the night in the middle of a British tour, to describe the band's sound for Kiwis who hadn't heard them.

"I don't know - that's such a hard question. You are not listening to yourself in the third person. Lots of guitars," he offers.

It's clear from the album, released earlier this year, that there are two distinct sounds competing for attention.

On the one hand there's a clear tendency towards a Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr style, which also brings to mind Swervedriver and, on epic track Rubber, New Zealand's Dead C, while on the other hand there's a strong Teenage Fanclub vibe.

They seem to be pretty common comparisons. I ask if it sucks to be constantly told you sound like someone else.

"I don't really mind - people are always going to make comparisons," says Bloom.

"I like these bands.


"This is our first album - we'll write many more. We wrote this album very instinctively - that's what I like about debut albums."

I ask him about the dual approach - sonic wall of noise versus shoe gazer.

"The album was written quite sporadically ... I guess we wrote really fast. The writing was done by me and Daniel [Blumberg - vocalist and guitarist] in my bedroom."

Bloom and Blumberg were in the band Cajun Dance Party before leaving to set up Yuck.

"There was a lot of music we listened to at the time that really excited us."

He rattles off a few examples: Wilco ("really important"), Teenage Fanclub, My Bloody Valentine and London band Video Nasties.

But it becomes clear that if we're starting to talk about influences, we should note the bands one listens to are always changing.

Right now, for example, Bloom says he's listening to Sparklehorse, a bit of Kraftwerk, some electronic music and Slint.

Does this mean we will see a more electronic direction on the next album?

If anything it will be "very minimal", says Bloom. "Not overboard, maybe one drum machine."

But the songwriting will have to wait.

"We've been touring for quite a while. I can't wait to get back home and start writing. You can't really write on tour."

Once this tour is done the band have a break, and maybe get in some recording, before heading Downunder for Laneway, where Bloom's looking forward to seeing Cults and Anna Calvi, and where a lot of Kiwis will be primed for the shoe gazing, sonic wall, melodic, "lots of guitar" sound of Yuck.

St Jerome's Laneway Festival: January 30 at Silo Park, Beaumont St, Auckland. Tickets from http://auckland.lanewayfestival.com.au/buy-5