Yo La Tengo - Fade

It takes four to Tengo

If fuzzy, languid pop with
unrelentingly pretty melodies
are your thing, you’ve come to
the right place. Yo La Tengo’s
13th album proper is more or
less business as usual from the
indie veterans. Opener Ohm
sets the scene nicely, sounding
like a zippy Magical Mystery
Tour outtake, while Is That
Enough marries an infectious
tune with an almost bashful
vocal and a blue-eyed soul
string section. The genre-hopping
continues throughout
the record as the scruffy, fuzzy
Well You Better evokes prime
Guided By Voices, before the
organ-led chug of Stupid Things.

Tortoise lynchpin John
McEntire takes on production
duties this time round, stripping
the three-piece’s sound to brass
tacks. The results are simple,
subtle arrangements that
highlight their song craft – most
apparent on I’ll Be Around,
a quietly heartbreaking plea for
an estranged loved one to make
contact. The song essentially
consists of a simple acoustic
guitar pattern set against a
pulsing drone, but Ira Kaplan’s
keening vocal and McIntyre’s
considerate production make it
a standout track. Elsewhere,
Cornelia And Jayne is another
small moment of beauty, while
Before We Run ends the album
on a uplifting note: all swollen
strings and soulful horns.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Matador | OLE 9941 (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Jamie Atkins
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