Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag New Jersey - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 8 - 06/20/97

Yo La Tengo
I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One

It's really amazing! This is the eighth album by Yo La Tengo, Hoboken's finest, or: #9 if you're including last years' rarities compilation bearing that brilliant title, Genius+Love=Yo La Tengo. Amazing, because this record sounds so fresh and virile, almost like being a debut album. Check out the song Sugarcube, for instance. Energetic, catchy, and just the right pop-flavour to make you start jumping around your living-room floor. This is a double album set (well, at least on vinyl it is) with 16 songs on it, of which two are cover versions. Judging from the long line of cover-songs Yo La Tengo have done over the years, they seem to know their history of pop and rock pretty well. This time they're doing a rather dark and fuzzy version of the Beach Boys' song Little Honda (by Brian Wilson/Mike Love). And My Little Corner Of The World, by Hilliard/Pockriss; sounding just as charmingly naive as its title implies, being the accurate round-up of the album. But, who did the original anyway? It doesn't matter now. It's a Yo La Tengo song for now.

They're still a trio, with Ira Kaplan on guitar, Georgia Hubley on drums, and James McNew on bass. There's a perfect balance of vocals, as Ira and Georgia are taking turns singing lead. They also share the organ job, filling their music with even more warmth and passion. This time James McNew has contributed to the material as well with his composition Stockholm Syndrome, which is his first song ever on a Yo La Tengo album. (Really?) And something else that is new, is - believe it or not - some sampled portions of Bird Bath by Burt Bacharach(!) are used in the rather modernish tune Moby Octopad. Yo La Tengo going Easy-listening? Oh, no! Not at all. They're still...uh, Yo La Tengo: Sugar-coated, excellent guitar-seasoned drone-pop. Noble and proud, without being arrogant. And inbetween, we get pearls like the quiet and beautiful Shadows. All over, Yo La Tengo present a fine mixture of all-instrumental tunes neatly blended with their other songs. Everything nicely arranged and performed.

When listening to the music of Yo La Tengo, sometimes it's like being at the movies. Sort of a cinematic in wide-screen, with all the lights off. This is also underlined by the title of one of the songs; Deeper Into Movies. And speaking of movies: I guess that Yo La Tengo is one of Hal Hartley's favourites, as they've appeared on the soundtracks of some of his films Simple Men (1992) and Amateur (1994), or as in his short film Surviving Desire (1991), where there's a Yo La Tengo poster on some wall. Hal Hartley also directed the video for From A Motel 6 from their 1993 album Painful. AND; last year Yo La Tengo actually had a part in the film I Shot Andy Warhol (directed by Mary Harron), as the Velvet Underground! [Later YLT appeared as a 'Salvation Army band' in Hal Hartley's The Book of Life from 1998]

I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One is a drug-thing. It seems like I've grown myself a serious addiction...

Copyright © 1997 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Yo La Tengo articles/reviews: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, Fade, I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass, John Dee, Oslo, Norway, 02.11.06, Popular Songs, Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003, Stuff Like That There, Stupid Things EP, Summer Sun, The Sounds of the Sounds of Science, You Can Have It All b/w Ready-Mades.

© 2011 Luna Kafé