In an industry where personalities are big and ego’s are bigger, Melbourne band Alpine have taken naming their sophomore album to a whole new level of modesty, album Yuck comes after their debut album A is for Alpine in 2012.
After a successful response to A is for Alpine winning iTunes “Alternative Australian Album of the Year” and The Age’s EG “Australian Album of the Year”, Yuck most definitely doesn’t reflect the masterful audible experience it serves up, but rather reflects an overarching theme and quirkiness of the six-piece. Described as a constant reaction to superficial first world problems such as awkward dates, corny romance, big egos, vanity and foolish attraction, Yuck seemed like an appropriately named album title for the twenty-something’s living in a twenty-first century.
It’s apparent Yuck already proves a musical evolution from their first album in more ways than one. In contrast to A is for Alpine’s continual undulating, dreamy and whimsical impression, which in some ways was considered its vice, the progression in Yuck can be attributed to its variety and play on tempo’s, textures and synthesizers as well as its lyricism. Without losing the Alpine feel, songs ‘Shot Fox’ and ‘Up For Air’ use more textual synth layering than acoustics, playing with the pop genre more than other tracks on the album. Both songs inspired and derived from the emotional phenomenon of a broken heart. Lou James and Phoebe Baker’s trademark light and breathy vocals are still the starring touch that makes these songs the enjoyable oasis that they are.
A personal favourite and stand out on the album is song ‘Foolish’, a single released as a lead up to the album drop. A real bold and upbeat ethereal pop, with cool acoustic Latin influenced guitar and strings. The song is punchy and smooth at the same time, thanks to the girls’ trademark synchronised vocals. Evoking a real blissful summer vibe, its only vice is that it wasn’t released in the hotter months to be enjoyed poolside. Track six ‘Jellyfish’ is a song where not only lyrics stand out, but also vocals as well through the use of the girls’ lower register-hardly seen on their previous album. The girls sing about self-acceptance and jealousy through the lyrics; “Jellyfish Jellyfish, I’m scared of Jealousy, Jealousy and yet I want to swim in a sea full of ah ah ah” and “I wanna be the new, the old, not something in between, I wanna be the fruit, the juice” evoking a sense of fragility we haven’t seen before in lyrics.
It seems tracks eight and nine were saved for the boys on the instruments to wreak havoc, particularly on the dance floor, as songs ‘Damn Baby’ and ‘Standing Not Sleeping’ are heavy on the instruments with not so much substance to the lyrics. However crashing drums and guitar equates to serious head nods and good all round feels. Closing song ‘Need Not Be’ evokes a real sassy feeling, playing with a mix of tempo, synthetic layering and brass elements- something not seen in their music previously. ‘Need Not Be’ is a real possible contender to bump ‘Foolish’ from favorite track title of the album.
Produced again by Dann Hume, the 10-track album proves as a sort of coming of age album, it could be likened to that cousin you haven’t seen in years and forgot that they inevitable grow and mature. It’s not the Alpine we would have initially expected, but better. It’s the mix of lyrical content on Yuck, producing that extra edge and honesty as well as the play with textures, instruments and the pop-genre as a whole that progresses it past their debut album.