Yo La Tengo's encyclopaedic knowledge of music worked against them on their last record, 2009's Popular Songs; its genre experiments were neatly crafted but sounded contrived. Fade, by contrast, returns to familiar territory so intuitively that it feels less like a return to form than a homecoming. It hardly matters that its core elements – half-whispered vocals, gently distorted garage riffs or drowsy, jazz-tinged guitars – are parts of a well-established signature sound, they yield new shades of feeling and pockets of warmth with every listen. And they are beautifully embellished: subtle, Motown strings on Is That Enough and muted brass on Two Trains.
Ally Carnwath writes on Africa and music for the Guardian and Observer