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Fade is the most direct, personal and cohesive album of Yo La Tengo s career. Recorded with John McEntire at Soma Studios in Chicago, it recalls the sonic innovation and lush cohesion of career high points like 1997 s I Can Hear the Heart Beating as Oneand 2000 s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out.
The album is a tapestry of fine melody and elegant noise, rhythmic shadow play and shy eyed orchestral beauty, songfulness and experimentation.
But Fade attains a lyrical universality and hard-won sense of grandeur that s rare even for this band. It weaves themes of aging, personal tragedy and emotional bonds into a fully realised whole that recalls career-defining statements like Blood on the Tracks, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, or Al Green s Call Me. Soft, gentle, persuasive, melancholy, beautiful and triumphant in turns, the effect is both heartbreaking and reassuring.
Perennially entertaining rock trio Yo La Tengo are nothing if not reliable. Traditionally their trump card is versatility; their ability to slide with no apparent hardship between styles inconceivable to lesser mortal rock groups.
A light jazz swing, a pop vignette with radio-friendly buzz and bite, a pervading psychedelic odyssey of giant length but somehow bolted together with Ira Kaplan’s uncanny balancing of heart and heft (and that’s just his guitar)… They are, undoubtedly, one of the more remarkable American groups to have emerged in the last 20 years. And with Fade, it seems they’ve settled for one sound.
Anyone familiar with Yo La Tengo’s catalogue will know that they’ve done this before. 2003’s Summer Sun is the closest bedfellow to Fade in that it shares a peculiar wooziness and hushed delivery. Here, songs like Two Trains, The Point of It and much of the latter half of the LP are dominated by those inimitable driftwood jams.
Early reports have also drawn links between Fade and earlier landmarks LPs: 1997’s I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One and 2000’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out. But there’s a more complex progression happening here, the band assembling a larger range of musical tools than they’ve ever had.
Their most recent albums have introduced a curiously indulgent series of pop templates – bluesy novelties and Motown strings are all over their last two LPs – so it’s nice that they’ve now become completely comfortable elements of their sound.
Rather than those influences becoming a marked stylistic shift, they’ve simply become different notches on the same bedpost, interchangeable and seamless. Saxophone pomp on Before We Run, for example, doesn’t sound like a novelty, just the right noise at the right time.
Purists intrigued by the band enlisting John McEntire (of Tortoise and innumerable notable indie releases) as producer instead of Roger Moutenot, who has worked on every Yo La Tengo record since 1993, will find little to gripe about. Fade sounds irreversibly like it’s their record, and nobody else’s.
The real revelation about Fade is that it is the most settled album they’ve recorded in years. Curiously, Yo La Tengo’s versatility has allowed them to turn a million different sounds into a single gorgeous and unfailingly interesting one.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Fade" is the latest offering from the Hoboken favourites and although it doesn't quite round off what could have been a trio of brilliant late career releases it's another solid effort from a band that couldn't suck if their life depended on it. Stylistically "Fade" falls somewhere between their last out and out masterpiece "And Then Turned Itself Inside Out" and the slightly underrated "Summer Sun". If you've heard those two records you'll know by that descriptor that this is Yo La Tengo in ambient mode; soft organ drones, hummable guitar melodies and whispered vocals are all delicately splayed over the ten tracks on here, aside from the clattering krautrock indebted opener "OHM".
These songs are all sweet and undenaibly pleasant but do feel a little too familiar at times, almost like Yo La have tweaked previously existing material in their colossal back catalogue and tried to repackage them as something new here.Read more ›
Indeed, although most of the songs here are mid-tempo, restrained affairs, the band make excellent use of strings (in particular on Is That Enough and Before We Run) and brass (Cornelia And Jane and Before We Run) and they have lost none of their (near unique) ability to hook the listener with an affecting, and moody, melody. The nearest Fade comes to anything like the pyrotechnic grandeur of the band's 'massive sounding' classics, such as Blue Line Swinger, The Story of Yo La Tango and Deeper Into Movies, is in the album's two bookending songs - opener Ohm, with its group harmony vocals, reflective lyrics ('Lose no more time, cause it's been fun, but nothing ever stays the same') and trademark (though slightly toned down) Ira solo, and the closer Before You Run, on which Georgia and Ira take part in a touchingly romantic 'call and response' vocal, behind which the extended band (including brass and strings) provide a haunting and intoxicating melody.
Otherwise, Fade provides us with a nicely judged set of poignant (and often romantic) little gems.Read more ›
`Fade' opens enormous strong. Georgia lays down a shuffling drumbeat combined with James his bass line that makes your head nod. Your head will continue going up and down once quickly Ira introduces his moving guitar riff. When the song has ended, you'll feel like this short song is over too quickly only to realize it is 6m47sec. Through the record you'll treated on many small details by this three piece band. Subtlety is always looking around the corner to pop up. Gentle things are hidden in different songs like `Stupid things' with its warm chords and echoing and in the acoustic guitar track `I'll be around' where you can actually hear Ira moving his fingers over the guitar strings.
Yo La Tengo lovers and dedicators to noisy guitar and to guitar extortion probably will find this brand new record disappointing. It is not their masterpiece, because it lacks the diversity like in my personal favorite "I am not afraid of you and I will beat your ass". But I can understand why in advance some reviews have made the link with "I can hear the heart beat as one" and with "And then nothing turned itself inside out"
Fade is a much appreciated and beautiful record. Fade won't fade but will stand the test of time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
slightly disassociated, slightly dreamy but still some edge - really cool walking in the woods music - definitely one for wrap around headphones - i listen to it walking through... Read morePublished on 29 May 2014 by CHRIS CROWLEY
This is just gorgeous. A definite contender in year-end lists! Their sound hasn't changed despite a different producer for the first time in years. Read morePublished on 12 Oct. 2013 by Philip Moynagh
They're probably muito favourite band, and with albums like this I'm truly know why. Despite being more subdued and less obvious than previous albums, it's just sublime, and grows... Read morePublished on 9 July 2013 by Go Faustino
An amazing album, I listen to 6 music a lot and its been on the playlist a lot of tracks familiar. Real Yo la Tengo just sublime buy it!Published on 2 April 2013 by Ms. R. Vowles
I'll get straight to "The Point Of It" - Fade has all the mesmerizing beauty your looking for from Yo La Tengo. The genius in Fade is its unassuming plurality. Read morePublished on 16 Jan. 2013 by Mr. R. Miller