Yo La Tengo, 'Fade'

· Thursday January 31, 2013

Ah New Jersey - so much to answer for. While Bruce Springsteen has been selling out stadium tours and Snooki has been slathering on fake tan, quiet achievers Yo La Tengo have steadily released album after album of moody beauty and expert song craft.

Like fellow New Jersey native Hal Hartley, Yo La Tengo make works of understated power, brainy introspection and quirky characterisation. Trying to describe their sound can be difficult (and it's weird to realise we've never reviewed one of their albums on The Thousands?). Songs veer from plaintive, sparse and melancholic to propulsive, upbeat and poppy. But there's a unified aesthetic: lo-fi fuzz, hazy production and whisper vocals. Picture Belle and Sebastian covering the Velvet Underground and you're halfway there.

Fade is another solid album to add to their 25+ years of releasing great music. There are no surprises herein, and they've eschewed the bombastic, krautrock and shoegaze sounds found on previous albums. You could call it hipster easy listening and while I'd secretly want to slug you, I couldn't argue it's not. This favourite band of music critics and record store clerks has released another album of subtle textures, roaring guitars and effortless cool that unabashed music nerds like myself are happy to geek out on.