fri 25/04/2014

CD: Yo La Tengo - Fade | New music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Yo La Tengo - Fade

Hoboken's veteran indie-rockers make a record of sweet simplicity

YLT: instagram cover, analogue music

Along with bands like Belle and Sebastian and The Beta Band, Yo La Tengo represent a kind of lo-fi vibe indie-aficionados can get a little smug about. To be found in the section marked “cult", they have been going forever, never broken into the mainstream, and exude an effortless superiority. YLT's cred, however, doesn’t always guarantee a thumbs-up. Not from me anyway. Previously I've gone both ways on them.

It’s hard to argue with Fade, however, their thirteenth studio album. This is, quite simply, a very pretty record. Gone are the unnecessary jazz diversions or rummaging through blues and soul. Fade consists almost entirely of whispered reflections. Ira Kaplan actually only raises his voice twice, once on opener “Ohm” and then again on “Paddle Forward". For the rest of the album he kind of mumbles melodically about the minutiae of metropolitan relationships. His vocals rub shoulders with wife Georgia’s harmonies and it all sits atop a river of deceptively basic drumming, twangy guitars and various dreamy organ noises.

If you know YLT at all you will immediately recognise this kind of Sunday morning sound. What distinguishes this album from others, however, is the distillation of that formula. Comparing Fade with their 2003 album Summer Sun, it's no stretch to say nearly all of the former’s tracks resemble the latter’s best: “Season of the Shark” and “Tiny Birds”. Thankfully too, Kaplan’s spurns the urge to show his ability with loops or samples.  

The best song? It isn’t really that kind of album. The presence of new producer John McEntire may or may not have helped with quality control but the result is a consistently fuzzy piece of music to happily get lost in. After chopping and changing styles for 30 odd years looking for something truly theirs, YLT now realise they had it all along.

Watch the video for Yo La Tengo's latest single "Ohm"

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Use to create page breaks.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

Newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday - free!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters