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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect introduction, 24 April 2005
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This review is from: Prisoners Of Love (A Smattering Of Scintillating Senescent) (Audio CD)
Yo La Tengo are one of those fashionable, classic American bands who never smashed the charts wide open but always remained a cult hit for those in the know. If, like me, you've never discovered the joys of their distinctive fuzz-pop, this is an absolutely perfect place to start. At a price usually reserved for a single disc, you get two CDs of all the 'hits', plus a bonus one with much sought-after rarities (so this is essential for collectors too). The music itself is sublime, ranging from early lo-fi ditties with a heart and a tune buried under the feedback ('Sugarcube', 'Barnaby, Hardly Working') to beautiful, almost sedated later songs ('Our Way To Fall', 'Little Eyes') via a number of covers (their excellent version of Sun Ra's 'Nuclear War'). Yo La Tengo are an essential, fine group, and newbies should begin their collection right here.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smattering of scintillating senescent songs 1985-2003 -, 3 April 2005
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Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Prisoners Of Love (A Smattering Of Scintillating Senescent) (Audio CD)
is how Yo La Tengo's two-disc compilation 'Prisoners of Love' is subtitled - underlining their modest approach to their art which they've been practicing in the U.S. underground for a few decades now. This compilation, already great value with 26-tracks from their brilliant career, becomes uber-great value in this box-set form which includes a 16-track-bonus disc entitled 'A Smattering of Outtakes and Rarities: 1986-2002.' This compilation is up there with Low's 'A Lifetime of Temporary Relief'- but betters that with its emphasis on all parts of YLT's output and being at a bargain-price!
Too many songs to go into here, but highlights for me include 'Autumn Sweater' (from breakthrough album 'I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One'), which is not only represented by the wonderful original but also by a Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) remix that is up there with his avant-ambient-jazz found on Primal Scream's 'If They Move Kill Em (MBV Arkestra).' Other joys include 'Tom Courtney', 'Big Day Coming' (sounds like Sonic Youth colliding with New Order)', their cover of Sun-Ra's 'Nuclear War', 'Sugarcube', 'Upside Down' & several tracks from 2000's classic 'And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out' (Our Way to Fall, Tears Are in Your Eyes & You Can Have It All).
Yo La Tengo's back-catalogue is wonderfully represented here - this is wonderfully packaged also (sleeve-art, liner-notes etc) and is going to be one of the compilations of 2005. Not to say that Yo La Tengo are unoriginal, but they remind me of several acts from time to time; if you have not heard them and would like pointers, they are the missing link between such acts as: Sonic Youth, Stereolab, The Free Design, Dinosaur Jr, The Velvet Underground, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Low, The Go-Betweens, The Flaming Lips, My Bloody Valentine, The Feelies, The Pastels, Pavement etc...(If you like those acts, you'll like Yo La Tengo). Wonderful stuff and the alternative soundtrack to the imminent summer...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs, 1 April 2005
This review is from: Prisoners Of Love (A Smattering Of Scintillating Senescent) (Audio CD)
This great compilation of 42 songs over 3 hours for £10 is obscenely good value, all the more so when it profiles the 20 year, 13 album recording history of such a great, under-appreciated band.
That the album tracks do not appear in chronological order makes tracing the evolution of the group far from straightforward but does lend for a more cohesive listening experience than might otherwise have been the case. The irreverent liner notes stress the "transformation" in sound and certainly, "River of Water" from 1985 and "Autumn Sweater" from 1997 which constitute the first and second tracks on the second disc are very different sounding songs. But this is not purely a function of a linear sonic development but the fact that the finest Yo La Tengo albums display an almost Beck like hotchpotch of styles. For the unitiated, although one can name check a host of similar sounding bands, the band's greatest strength is how they combine elements of alt-country (say Lambchop) and a very Velvet Underground New York sensibility.
The highlights are too many to mention but "Autumn Sweater", the truly beautiful "Tears Are In Your Eyes" and "Little Eyes" from three of the band's strongest albums are serious candidates.
The quality control is retained in the third disc of outtakes and rarities. I am not sufficiently familiar with the entirety of Yo La Tengo's back catalogue and live history to say whether there are other tracks more worthy of inclusion on the third disc but I can safely say that some tracks which were left off various albums are as strong as much of the material which finally made the cut (check out "Pencil Test" which inexplicably is not from the great "I Can Hear The Heart Beating as One").
To novices and completists alike, this is a great purchase which contains more than a smattering of scintillating moments. Let us hope that Yo La Tengo continues to grow old gracefully.
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