Saturday, April 25, 2015

Yo La Tengo - Painful

Yo La Tengo’s sixth album, released in 1993 represented something of a shift from their previous material.  Less reliant on song-based, sub Velvets grooves, initially the album can feel a little hard to get into, on first listen there is little that jumps out at you.  The album has two versions of Big Day Coming, and the version that opens the album is kind of dreamy and drippy, with little happening over seven minutes.  The album picks up from here on, some very catchy melodies are given a pleasing skew with some wonderfully distorted guitar work on tracks like From A Motel 6 and Double Dare.

There are still traces of their earlier Velvet-y ballads, Nowhere Near and a cover of The Only Ones' The Whole of the Law have  perfectly pitched sleepy vocals from Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan.  Later, A Worrying Thing has a lazy summer feel to it.  But what the album really has to recommend it is the forefront and centre guitars of Kaplan on tracks like I Was The Fool Beside You, the second, heavy version of Big Day Coming, and valedictory instrumental closer I Heard You Looking. 

Though the album is less instant and alluring than May I Sing With Me, on prolonged listening little details begin to reveal themselves, making you come back time and time again for more.