Better Late Than Never: We Review The New Yo La Tengo Album, Pure!


What can you say about Yo La Tengo that hasn't been said before in the multitude of critical acclaim heaped upon a band that has been churning out a consistently listenable and intellectual style of indie-based pop.

Granted, the band's pedigree - Ira Kaplan was a noted music critic prior to forming the band - might be a tad off-putting to those adverse to music that forces them out of their rock & roll comfort zone.  Of course, anyone familiar with, or a fan of, The Feelies, Papas Fritas, or The Sea And Cake has already crossed that bridge and is able to enjoy the band's music on its own merits..

On, Pure, the band's thirteenth proper album, the band continues to mine the same atmospheric, slyly melodic lo-fi territory that has become their trademark.  In Chicago-based producer John McEntire, the band has found a new accomplice capable of adding structural integrity to the often brittle backbone of songs like "Ohm" and "Stupid Things".

McEntire, of course, is best known for producing The Sea And Cake and, on Pure, the similarities between the two bands are at their most pronounced.  That's not to say that McEntire has forced the band into a pigeonhole in which they do not fit.  Instead, it provides a convenient entry-point for listeners both old and new.

Oddly enough, Pure is the band's first album to enter the Billboard Top 40.  I wish that this was due to the band finally breaking through into the mainstream, which it very well may be to a point.  The closer truth is that the band's sales remain consistent, but that overall album sales are low enough that the band's modest sales (by commercial standards) are now worthy of Top 40 accolades.

So the next time someone asks you who your favorite Top 40 act is, don't be afraid to say "Yo La Tengo!"

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