Sahan Jayasuriya

Yo La Tengo’s got it right again with “Fade”

The New Jersey trio, still relevant and interesting after almost three decades, performs at Turner Hall Saturday.

By - Feb 1st, 2013 04:00 am
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Yo La Tengo arrives at Turner Hall on Saturday, Feb. 2. Photo courtesy Matador Records.

Yo La Tengo, not unlike Sonic Youth (and to a lesser extent Superchunk) have continuted to stay relevant over the course of the last three decades, releasing interesting and consistent albums from their inception in 1984 to the present day. Each record by the New Jersey trio, from the dream pop of 1993’s Painful to the organ and guitar fuzz of 1997’s I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, has essentially built on the foundation they’ve laid over time. That’s made it possible for them to slip in and out of various roles in recent years, sometimes all within the course of a single album. Their latest album, Fade, released earlier this month, is a perfect example, showcasing the band’s subtle eclecticism with both freshness and familiarity.

At times, Fade shows the band at their most straightforward and accessible. The melodies are simple, yet memorable, and often serve as the focal point of the songs. At the same time, however, the album is distinctly Yo La Tengo, and this slight shift towards more melodic and straightforward songwriting doesn’t seem unnatural – it just feels tighter and more focused, not unlike Fugazi’s End Hits or Sonic Youth’s Rather Ripped.

Album opener “Ohm” is a dreamy exercise in the key of D, featuring a hypnotic blend of swirling synths, droning guitars and a tight percussive maraca groove that carries the song’s almost seven-minute runtime. “Well You Better” is a ’60s pop-soul homage, recalling the percussive guitars and sweet melodicism of golden-era Motown singles yet still retaining Yo La Tengo’s signature warm organ sounds. “Is That Enough” features a gorgeous and understated string arrangement, something rarely heard from them. Familiar sounds are visited on Fade as well; “Paddle Forward” and “Two Trains” sound like some of the finer moments of I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One and 2003’s Summer Sun, respectively.

With a brand new album under their belt and an incredible decades-spanning backlog of work, Yo La Tengo is hitting the road once again and will be playing Turner Hall Ballroom Saturday, Feb. 2nd. For a preview of their new work, check out the video for “Ohm” below. See you at the show!

Yo La Tengo will appear at Turner Hall Ballroom Saturday, Feb 2. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here. Follow Sahan Jayasuriya on Twitter and Instagram @sahanicyouth.

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