Yo La Tengo
Fade - MATADOR
FILTER Grade: 86%
By Kurt Orzeck on February 14, 2013
Their distortion knobs may sometimes be turned down to zero and they have been known to cast the occasional gaze down at their shoes from time to time, but with their 13th album, Fade, Yo La Tengo are looking us straight in the eye. The most direct album the band has ever assembled, Fade functions like one of the darker, LOL-averse episodes of comedian Louis C.K.’s eponymous show: It’s upfront, straight from the heart and intrinsically metropolitan. And yet, it’s also a heady stew that, at various intervals, takes a psych-rock detour (“Here to Fall”) and invokes the spirit of Nick Drake (“Is That Enough”). Drummer Georgia Hubley showcases her vocal abilities on “Cornelia and Jane” in a performance that underscores the fact that while one of the most stalwart bands in indie rock are not necessarily overzealous to return to the mic, they are at top form when they do, delivering a type of sincerity that comes rare these days. Rounded out by carefully placed, florid instrumentation, the band seem to tip their proverbial cap to the groovy, laidback Summer of Love—even if Hoboken is a rather far cry from San Francisco.