Yo La Tengo: Fade – review

(Matador)

You couldn't exactly accuse Yo La Tengo of being as single-minded as the Ramones – for all that the bedrock of their signature sound is what singer-guitarist Ira Kaplan calls "the suburbanisation of the underground", over the last quarter-century they have incorporated free jazz, soft pop, garage rock, surf pop, folk rock and pretty much everything you can do with an electric guitar alongside their default post-Velvets drone-rock. Still, they're pretty much instantly recognisable, and their 13th studio album could fit anywhere into their post-1990 discography, acting as a guided tour through their styles, via the fuzzy rock of Ohm, the brisk, understated pop of Well You Better, the feedback squall of Paddle Forward, the folky reverie of Cornelia and Jane. The biggest point of difference from their past – and it's a welcome one, given that Yo La Tengo can become too much of a good thing – is in the album's length. Fade clocks in at a neat 45 minutes, which counts as a major upheaval from a band who've been making hour-plus albums since the mid-90s.

Contributor

Michael Hann

The GuardianTramp

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