Yo La Tengo Isn’t ‘Fading’
Imagine a band that’s a little more than 30 years old, is made up of a husband and wife duo and has released 13 studio-length albums in their 30-plus year tenure.
You don’t have to imagine; Yo La Tengo is a real band. Fronted by the husband and wife duo of Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, Yo La Tengo is best described as an American Indie noise-pop rock band.
Tengo has been consistently releasing a new album every three years, so “Fade” serves as a follow-up to their 2009 album “Popular Songs,” which garnered positive reviews from Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, a feat that’s not unusual for the chiefly three-piece band.
With “Fade,” Yo La Tengo has managed to release an album that seems like a celebration of the band’s 30-year existence, but also an ode or celebration to the matrimonial union between Hubley and Kaplan.
With 10 tracks characterized by their noise-pop, almost surf-pop sounds, Yo La Tengo created a web of tracks that comes with sweet and sincere lyrics that are tied together by their laid-back sound created with a set of diverse instrumentation that ranges from soaring violins to a guitar’s mellow strum.
Standout tracks from “Fade” include the premier track, “Ohm.” With “Ohm,” Yo La Tengo sets up the tone of the album — sincere, warm and a little rough around the edges. In “Ohm,” Kaplan and Hubley sing together on the nearly seven-minute track and croon, “We try not to lose our hearts / Not to lose our minds.”
For “Well You Better” and “I’ll Be Around,” both of the songs are soft, sweet and sincere. In “I’ll Be Around,” a light guitar kicks off the song, giving a dream-like ambience to the song once Kaplan comes in and begins to sing, “When I stare into space / I look for you.”
“Well You Better” is fun and upbeat, with the fun and steady beat made up of a ’70s-inspired guitar, a keyboard and a steady drum beat. Meanwhile, Kaplan sings, “Please make up your mind,” with the guitar scattered between Kaplan’s plea.
The intermixing of orchestral instruments into Yo La Tengo’s album is heard in “Is that Enough” with a whimsical mix of string instruments like the violin and cello. “Is that Enough” serves as the most evident homage to their matrimonial union, as Kaplan sings, “All that matters for me is you / Is that enough.” It’s a sweet and sincere lyrical elucidation to their 30-year-old marriage and the 30-year duration of their band.
With “Fade,” Yo La Tengo gives listeners a sound that’s not too different or wayward of their previous albums, but they do serve up an album with a noticeable sincerity to their lyrics, which are only complemented by their serene and ambient sound. With Yo La Tengo, the husband and wife that makes music together, stays together.
Recommended: Yo La Tengo may be pushing their 30s, but they’re as good as ever.