Saturday, September 09, 2006
Who's afraid of Yo La Tengo?
Record Review: Yo La Tengo 'I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass.'
Released September 11, 2006 (Matador (UK))
Just as you shouldn't necessarily judge books from their covers, so it's possibly advisable not to judge records from their titles, regardless of how familiar you might, or might not be with their work. Yo La Tengo's follow up to 2003's Summer Sun is probably not the aggressive record that you might expect.
It certainly fits in with their back catalogue, and on first hearing is similar to Summer Sun in the sense that so many of the tracks are pleasantly gentle and comforting. That is, in the same sense that a record like Jim O'Rourke's Eureka, or Sigur Ros's Agaetis Byrjun are comforting, they are records that you can lose yourself in, but you know that they come from a proudly leftfield tradition in a way that 'Easy Listening' or MOR doesn't.
There are some definitely rockier moments on the album, the album's two epic bookends 'Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind' and 'The Story Of Yo la Tengo' and 'Watch Out For Me Ronnie' are excellent examples of this side of Yo La Tengo. But there are horns throughout much of the record, adding a hint of soul rather than saturating it. 'Sometimes I Don't Get You' is a waltz, and 'Daphnia' one of the best tracks, is like Aphex Twin's Avril 14th remixed by Mogwai.
It's not Yo La Tengo's best album - my money's still on I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One - but there's a seam through this album, even allowing for the shere diversity of influeneces running through it, that makes it consistent, enjoyable, and I suspect, rewarding listen.
Either get yourself over to Amazon or visit your friendly local independent retailer this Monday.
To hear tracks from this album and other Yo La Tengo albums go here