It is always a major triumph for a band to make it more than a few years without breaking up. There are those select few who have been able to stick together for decades, but in many cases the quality of these bands music begins to wane in the later years. Yo La Tengo formed in 1984 and have managed to survive the years while also keeping a steady stream of excellent music; truly an accomplishment to be admired.
Yo La Tengo have just released their thirteenth full-length record Fade and it is yet another great release to add to their extremely consistent discography. This release is bit more somber with vocal deliveries that sound similar to Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse or Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastien, but this really helps to give the record a more intimate feel. Not to mention the sensational production that was handled by John McEntire, who has also produced albums for bands such as Bright Eyes, Stereolab and Smog. The album was mixed particularly well, because not one instrument sounds out of place or feels too loud or too quiet and the vocals are always at the perfect level. This helps to push Fade from a good album to a great album.
The instrumentation on Fade is pretty straight forward, usually it is just guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, except for the song “Is It Enough” which features some strings which exentuate the song perfectly as well as the closer “Before We Run” which feature not only a great string arrangement but also some great trumpet work. The rest of the record, however, is a bit more straightforward, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Songs like opener “Ohm” or “Well You Better” take a more simplistic approach that showcases the fantastic songwriting ability of Yo La Tengo. The track “Cornelia and Jane” is another highlight and it features the drummer Georgia Hubley on vocals and she delivers an amazing performance that is quite reminiscent of Victoria Legrand’s vocal delivery in the band Beach House. This track also incorporates the use of slide guitar and trumpet, which help to diversify the track. It all comes together really well to make one of the best track on Fade.
Yo La Tengo has managed to put together yet another solid release with Fade. It features some fantastic instrumentation as well as some memorable vocal melodies that are delivered in a very personal and emotional manner. The record evokes a very emotional feel, but without feeling sappy or overtly moody. It instead provides a pleasant listening experience that enables the listener to feel emotionally involved and instills a reliability that is rarely found in modern music. Yo La Tengo may be getting old, but they have not lost any of their songwriting talent and this is made blisteringly obvious with Fade.