Friday, January 11, 2013

Yo La Tengo: "Fade" (album review)

Yo La Tengo have always been a scene unto themselves.  They don't really fit neatly into any genre category and it's difficult to compare them to other bands.  They simply make the music they want to make.

That trend continues on the band's thirteenth studio album Fade, which hits stores on January 15th.

It's a harder driving sound we get on the album's opener "Ohm", yet it still manages to maintain the band's characteristic trance vibe.  A squeal of feedback and fuzzy guitars provide the motivation to rock.

Who's kidding who though.  We don't listen to Yo La Tengo because they break new ground anymore.  We listen to Yo La Tengo because the music they make is unique.  A bassline thumps along playfully on "Well You Better", with a hushed vocal delivered on top, added quirks and idiosyncratic arrangements reminding you why you love this band in the first place.

It's a vintage Yo La Tengo sound when indie rock comes together with cinematic scope on "Is That Enough".  The liquid feel of "Two Trains" absolutely immerses you.  The low-key yet mesmerizing "I'll Be Around" is another example of a standard Yo La Tengo number.

After all of these years, Yo La Tengo have managed to keep it fresh by refining rather than experimenting.  They simply get better and better at playing their style of music.  When the results are like this, who's going to argue?

Yo La Tengo play The Phoenix in Toronto on February 9th.

Best tracks: "Well You Better", "Two Trains"

Track listing for Fade:
  • Ohm
  • Is That Enough
  • Well You Better
  • Paddle Forward
  • Stupid Things
  • I'll Be Around
  • Cornelia and Jane
  • Two Trains
  • The Point of It
  • Before We Run

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