Yo La Tengo - Fade
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Yo La Tengo - Fade

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Item #: 15008363
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    Audio Mixer: John McEntire. Recording information: Hoboken, NJ (2012); Soma, Chicago, IL (2012). Photographer: Carlie Armstrong. At album number 13, Yo La Tengo are an institution unto themselves, having perfected their craft of slow-burning, unassumin......more

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Artist: Yo La Tengo
Audio Mixer: John McEntire. Recording information: Hoboken, NJ (2012); Soma, Chicago, IL (2012). Photographer: Carlie Armstrong. At album number 13, Yo La Tengo are an institution unto themselves, having perfected their craft of slow-burning, unassumingly insular indie rock in incremental baby steps since their formation in 1984. Almost three decades of building a language of wistfully melodic guitar rock without becoming redundant is no small feat, and Fade rises to the unique challenge by striking a middle ground between new territory and recalling YLT's finest hours. Fade is the first album for the band not recorded with producer Roger Moutenot, who had worked with the group on everything they put to tape since their 1993 breakthrough, Painful. The ten songs here were recorded instead with Chicago scene veteran John McEntire (Tortoise, Sea and Cake, Gastr del Sol, etc.) at his Soma studios, and while his influence on the album isn't overwhelming, there are touches of his affinity for orchestration, such as the gleaming strings and horn arrangements on album closer "Before We Run" and the distant trombone on "Cornelia and Jane." Mostly, regardless of production, Fade comes across as almost self-referential before it recalls other reference points, coming closest to the sound and overall feel of their 1997 masterpiece, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. The whispery vocals and bed of guitar textures on "Stupid Things" and the extended percussive jamming of "Ohm" definitely seem informed by territory the band was exploring around that era, though the album on a whole lacks any of the spiky rockers that broke up the lush softness on ICHTHBAO. The gentle and romantic wash of sounds that characterizes much of Fade is more in keeping with the band's chilled-out 2003 album Summer Sun, with graceful exploration of different sounds all reined in before they spin into distortion or clamor. Even the slinky groove and weird wah-wah tones of "Well You Better" are subdued, offering a relatively mellow peak in energy. The album's lazy, sunshiny demeanor borders on sleepy at times, but those listening closely will pick up on the subtle shifts in instrumentation and colorful production shifts that the band has grown to excel at over the years. The fingerpicked acoustic guitar and harmonium drones of "I'll Be Around" fade into the spaced-out drum machine pulse of "Two Trains" without spectacle, and the entire album blends in a similar, pleasant way. This fluidity and cohesion is what drives the songs on Fade to stand stronger as a unified mood, and one that grows more satisfying with repeat listens. By this point, Yo La Tengo have developed not just a style, but a voice of their own so distinct that the deeper the details go determines how strong the album can be. Fade is rich with details and grows richer the closer one looks. ~ Fred Thomas
See Also:
May I Sing with Me, Fakebook, Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs: 1985-2003, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, Painful
See Influences:
Grateful Dead, The Holy Modal Rounders, The Feelies, Jefferson Airplane, Mission of Burma, The Velvet Underground, Sun Ra, The Clean, The Kinks, Sonic Youth, The Beach Boys, The dB's, The Soft Boys, Television, Love, The Byrds, Bob Dylan
See Contemporaries:
Ride, Lush, David Kilgour, Stereolab, Throwing Muses, Sonic Youth, Viva Voce (Indie), Rosebuds (Rock), Pacific Ocean, Spiritualized, Spacemen 3, The Boo Radleys, Eleventh Dream Day, The Vulgar Boatmen, Sebadoh, The New Mendicants, Superchunk, Ultra Vivid Scene, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Helium, The Melody Unit, Larry O. Dean, Kid Dakota, Pinkunoizu, The Slip, Botticellis, Camper Van Beethoven, Mercury Rev, Walker Kong, Rogue Wave, Guided by Voices, Schramms, The Dream Syndicate (Group), The Sea and Cake, Lightships, Pavement, Pacer, Acetone, Galaxie 500, R.E.M., Downy Mildew, Like Honey, Dinosaur Jr., The Church, My Bloody Valentine, Cardinal (Pop), Tara Key, Everybody Uh-Oh, Dignan Porch, The Glands, The Spinto Band, The Sea Monsters, Thriftstore Masterpiece, The Fire Theft, Pixies, Human Switchboard
Track Listing:
Disc 1:
  1. 1 Ohm
  2. 2 Is That Enough
  3. 3 Well You Better
  4. 4 Paddle Forward
  5. 5 Stupid Things
  6. 6 I'll Be Around
  7. 7 Cornelia and Jane
  8. 8 Two Trains
  9. 9 Point of It, The
  10. 10 Before We Run
Rock & Pop
Matador Records
Number of Discs:
Compact Disc
Studio or Live:
SPARS Coding:
45 : 44
Editorial Reviews:
Rolling Stone (p.67) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The band revels in its pop modesty, as beautifully as ever." Entertainment Weekly (p.119) - "New Jersey's indie idols melt icy hearts with a set of spare, slow-building dream pop..." CMJ - "[I]t's best to remember that this is a record about serenity, endurance and mortality. It doesn't just reward patience -- it teaches it." Mojo (Publisher) (p.88) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "FADE feels like a definitive and hugely uplifting summary of a cult institution." Paste (magazine) - "'Cornelia and Jane' is a classic Georgia Hubley torch song, with more audible momentum and horns that return for a closer with, wow, arena-rock drums." Pitchfork (Website) - "Even as Yo La Tengo lean to their quieter side here, the band's sense of playfulness comes through."
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