on 12 March 2003
They say 'variety is the spice of life' and this offering from Yo La Tengo may just prove this old saying right. 16 tracks that take on a number of styles and sounds but remain distinct and ear pleasing. Heartbreakingly beautiful and gentle on slower tracks like 'Damage' and 'Shadow', the songs continue to sound fragile even when the guitars get turned up (slightly!). Undoubtedly the gentler side of Yo La Tengo is their strong point, the soft spoken male and female vocals compliment the delicate melodies to fully, creating mini masterpieces again and again. Musically, the songs are simple and impeccably controlled blending happy and sad vibes to great effect.
There is a haunting atmosphere on tracks like 'Damage' with its ghostly backing vocals and reverb guitars. Similarly instrumental 'Green Arrow' with it's cricket chirping background and beautiful guitar parts takes on an eerie sound that is enough to paint all sorts of wonderful images in your head.
All in all, the album is largely faultless; never dull, always interesting, and frequently beautiful. A real treat of a record with some excellent melodies and hooks to keep you coming back time and time again for more.
Yo La Tengo's 1997 album I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One is probably my favourite album by the band, containing a typically varied and eclectic collection of songs by this much underrated (and under-recognised) band. The album contains a brilliant mix of styles - folk, punk, electronic, jazz - cementing the band's reputation for diversity, but, much like their most obvious comparators, The Velvet Underground, always with a view to capturing haunting melodies and inspiring instrumental hooks.
One of the great features of this band, of course, is that all three members will variously take on vocal duties, lending a different vocal ambience to each song. This album particularly highlights this quality. Each of Ira, James and Georgia can, of course, warble a marvellous slow ballad and this facet is demonstrated admirably here. Standout ballads are Damage (featuring Ira), a heartfelt lament following a lovers' tiff, Shadows (featuring Georgia), another beautiful melody in which a rejected paramour is resigned to taking second place in a lover's heart, and, best of all, Stockholm Syndrome (featuring James), described elsewhere (accurately, I would say) as being reminiscent of a Neil Young (After The Gold Rush-period) ballad, and apparently telling the story of the love of the mistreated (a la the song's title).
On the more up-tempo front, the album contains the live favourite Sugarcube, which features some typically invigorating, and feedback-infused, guitar from Ira, an almost unrecognisable version of the Beach Boys' song Little Honda and, best of all, the brilliant Deeper Into Movies, which builds from its quiet beginnings into a fully fledged hook-laden wall of sound, once again apparently defying the reality that, yes, Yo La Tengo really are only a three-piece band. And then, as if this level of variety wasn't sufficient, we have the bossanova gem Center Of Gravity, with delightful harmony vocals from the crew, and the extended ambient, electronica of Green Arrow and Spec Bebop. Truly, a level of musical diversity that most bands can only dream of.
Nearly 70 minutes of magical sounds.
on 6 December 2001
every song on this album and every song yo la tengo have ever done have been infused with a perfectly controlled guitar. their lyrics are incomparable in modern day alternative rock for their honesty and clarity. the songs in which the singing takes the lead are beautifully gentle and are refreshingly simple and touching. The melody of this band speaks for itself and the only band i find in modern alternative rock with a similar scope is the flaming lips. my favourite songs are possibly sugarcube, deeper into movies, my little corner of the world and we're an american band. 'we're an american band'is in my opinion the band's best song and possibly the most emotional instrumental i have ever heard. the guitar solo at the end reminds me of free jazz in the way it relinquishes the tune to communicate emotion, and is the best instrumental guitar song i have ever heard. indeed this is one of the 'best albums ever'. this music has to be heard.
on 28 September 2010
The vinyl copy comes with a mp3 download but when you listen the LPs its very hard to enjoy Mp3 on ipod. Buy it on vinly, excellent dynamics, very good sound that worth to have it on black plastic discs for a few dolars more.