Yo La Tengo
I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
Brilliant. That is the word that keeps coming to mind over and over again while listening to the latest from New Jersey’s beloved noise-pop trio, Yo La Tengo. And it is really exciting to be able to say that again. After the equally magnificent I Can Hear Two Hearts… and And Then Nothing…, on Summer Sun it appeared the band was running out of steam—or maybe just settling on the idea they were masters of quiet contemplation, forgetting that some of their finest moments came when all hell broke loose into a deafening aural bliss.
That aural bliss happens right off the bat on their latest release with “Pass the Hatchet” (a 10-minute-plus feedback jam) and at the end where a piece more than 11 minutes long titled “The Story of Yo La Tengo” keeps building and building and building.
The rest of I Am Not Afraid touches on everything the band does better than anyone else; slow, gorgeous ballads (“I Feel Like Going Home”), quirky pop (“Beanbag Chair” and “The Weakest Part”) or slacker punk (“Watch out for me Ronnie”). And then there is “Mr. Tough,” an insanely catchy song that sounds like Beck trying to do Belle & Sebastian. This disc is not just a return to form but a true tour de force for Yo La Tengo, a band that has already accomplished so much.