When Cajun Dance Party announced they were calling it a day at the end of last year, nary a tear was shed. In fact, it's highly unlikely many casual observers would have been aware of their demise were it not for guitarist Danny Blumberg and bass player Max Bloom publicly heralding the arrival of their new project, Yuck. Whereas their old outfit seemed like a stray dog-end of the post punk-inspired scene led by the likes of Bloc Party et al, this new venture had a totally unexpected sheen about it, not least due to the distinctly American lo-fi connotations carried by early demo 'Georgia'. Close your eyes for 30 seconds and it has an air of the Yo La Tengos about it, a marked departure from the aloof Cureisms of 'The Next Untouchable' or 'The Race'.
Of course there was always going to be the question as to whether such a drastic change of style could be considered authentic or not. Certainly the pseudo Yankee drawl punctuating their live show can be a touch off-putting, yet beneath the questionable accents and louche chord changes lies an impressive library of songs.
However, even that little diversion didn't fully prepare us for Weakend. Sure, the smoothly orchestrated ballad 'Automatic' appeared on the same demo as 'Georgia', yet somehow remained the out-of-kilter anomaly amidst the bulk of their live set (on the rare occasions they actually play it). Here, propping up this four-track cassette-only EP of emotive wistfulness, Blumberg's confession that "I was always an automatic don't assume I'm in control" sounds as uncontrived as it gets. Opener 'Daughter' may use the opening bars of The XX's 'VCR' via Glasvegas' 'Geraldine' as an introduction, but the simplistic piano guided melody cut with swathes of stripped-down electronica at its core suggest a far more studied outfit than their initial move from Cajun Dance Party to Yuck barely hinted at.
The title track itself, all Galaxie 500 style observations and Darklands-era Mary Chain melancholia slowly gives way to more haunting desolation courtesy of the six-minute plus 'Walk', Blumberg opining "She never came to be with me" like some misanthropic lothario. Never has the unexpected been so depressing yet dynamic at the same time. Indeed Yuck - or should that be Yu(c)k, as they've slightly rechristened themselves for this release? - haven't just taken us by surprise with this startling collection of gems, but somehow redefined people's perceptions to the point where maybe a permanent seachange towards such darker, introspective confines could end up being a realistic launchpad for one of the most interesting bands to emerge from London's underachieving music scene in years.
8Dom Gourlay's Score