YUCK with ALVVAYS and ELSA at the Garrison (1197 Dundas West), Friday (January 17), doors 9 pm. $15. RT, SS. TF.
When London-based Yuck began writing the follow-up to their fantastic 2011 record, the 90s revivalist indie rockers were anxious.
After all, failing to live up to a widely acclaimed debut effort is such a common occurrence, there's a term for it: the sophomore slump.
Add the departure of lead lyricist/vocalist Daniel Blumberg and, as newly appointed frontman Max Bloom puts it, "It was the most difficult possible second album.
"It definitely got to me at times. It's a weird kind of period because we're in transition, and that's not behind the scenes. Everyone can see it," Bloom says over Skype from London, UK, just days before they start their first North American tour sans Blumberg.
The singer's decision to leave Yuck to pursue a solo project was made over a long period of time, says Bloom, who's played in bands with Blumberg since they were teenagers.
"I know him better than anyone. I know when he's getting tired of something. He's a very creative person, and music is just one of the things he wants to do, as opposed to me: I have tunnel vision toward the band."
Bloom and the remaining members, drummer Jonny Rogoff and bassist Mariko Doi, started fresh for Glow & Behold (released last October on Fat Possum), ditching Bloom's parents' house as HQ for a proper recording studio in the wilderness of upstate New York.
The change of scenery (and the help of producer Chris Coady, who's worked with Beach House and Smith Westerns) proved a winning formula. Glow & Behold furthers their woozy sound without completely reinventing it: think inspiration from Flaming Lips rather than Sonic Youth.
Along with the lineup, their live-show attitude has also changed. Known for their deadpan delivery - the type of bored demeanour only veteran shoegazers can really pull off - Yuck now have a more energetic presence, Bloom says. In fact, he's even enjoying the spotlight.
"The first few shows were kind of like having a heart attack onstage," he says.
"But things feel a lot fresher than on previous tours. You have to like the attention, because if you're onstage and you're not enjoying it, then it's not fun for anyone to watch, and it's not fun for the people onstage with you. It's very different now. It's a lot more fun."