Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs: CD review

(Matador)

Yo La Tengo have hit that stage of band life - 25 years in for husband-and-wife Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, 17 for bassist James McNew - when they can do pretty much anything, however preposterous, and get away with it. They've already released one album this year, a blistering collection of garage covers recorded under the name Condo Fucks; now Popular Songs presents an iPod shuffle of styles and sounds at once idiosyncratic and surprising. They swagger in with Here to Fall, a grandiose display of orchestral metal to which Kaplan's soft voice is comically unsuited, end with 15 minutes of hypnotic Krautrock sizzling with white noise, and in between sidle from honeyed Motown pop (If It's True) to strutting, tongue-in-cheek funk (Periodically Double or Triple). What stops it from being an incongruous mishmash is the mood of intimacy and exuberance: you might be hanging out with them in their basement studio, sharing the jokes, shivering with delight.

Contributor

Maddy Costa

The GuardianTramp

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