In the past few years, several celebrated college rock bands have decided to go their separate ways. Thurston and Kim broke up, Meg White’s anxiety got to be too much to continue with The White Stripes, and R.E.M finally called it a day 15 years after Bill Berry left the band to concentrate on farming. Operating in the shadows of those more famous bands, Hoboken NJ’s Yo La Tengo have continued to put out critically acclaimed albums once every few years. Fade, released in January of this year, is the latest from the husband and wife team of Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley along with long time bassist James McNew.
Fade starts off with the rollicking “Ohm”. The fuzzy seven minute rocker is quite possibly the strongest opening to any album released so far in 2013. This arrives before the quieter but no less catchy “Is That Enough” featuring terrific string interludes throughout. It’s not until track seven that Hubley takes the lead vocal for the hushed “Cornelia and Jane”. As lovely as that is, it’s just a prelude to the second track to feature her vocals, “Before We Run” which not only closes out Fade but is also one of the best songs YLT has ever recorded. The deadpan vocal delivery keeps the swelling orchestra at bay before it finally takes over for the final few minutes.
It’s not often one can be just as excited by a band’s release that comes almost exactly 20 years after their first great masterstroke, Painful released in 1993. Fade features all the hallmarks of that landmark release – the calm vocals, hazy guitar lines, introspective lyrics but this time around it is with a wiser, more confident outlook and delivery. With Fade, Yo La Tengo have just pushed themselves into the discussion of greatest indie rock bands of all time.
Review also found at UMFM.com