Thursday, February 19, 2004

#68) Yo La Tengo - Electr-O-Pura (released in 1995, my mom bought me the CD for my 16th birthday. It was one of the first things I ever asked for without ever hearing the group beforehand. The SPIN reviews I'd read of their earlier albums made me very curious)

I forget who said that the Hoboken trio Yo La Tengo was all about domesticated noise (hell, maybe it was me!) but Electr-O-Pura is the album where they show just how noisy they can get without ever losing any warmth. I blame Ira Kaplan's guitar solos for the fact that I can't help but interject heaps of reckless noise into my own noodlings. On "My Hearts Reflection" and "Flying Lesson" he sounds like Neil Young trying to utilize Robert Quine's tricks while being pushed down a flight of stairs. While all their albums from '89's President Yo La Tengo to 2000's And Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out are more than worth of purchase, Electr-O-Pura's the one where each track resonates emotionally; nothing comes off like a genre exercise or filler (ok maybe "False Ending" and "Attack On Love," but collectively they count for two minutes of the album so BLEH). The voices add up to little more than "bah bah bah" and vague declarations of love and obscurity, but Electr-O-Pura is all about sound. The distorted keyboards, soaring yet jagged guitars, rising climaxes, gentle lullabies and pulsing rhythms make the album feel like an amazing technicolor dreamcoat that only gets comfier with age.

No comments: