Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid And I Will Beat Your Ass

yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo are one of those bands that get banded about quite a bit in indie mags. Seemingly ever present with favourable reviews but hardly with any significant press coverage. Maybe it’s the fact that they are three average looking people from New Jersey or the fact that George and Ira are married. How un-rock ‘n roll. Whatever the reason, Yo La Tengo (Spanish for “I’ve Got It”) have built up quite a discography. From their early 80’s beginnings, they’ve released over ten albums at a steady rate. Last year’s I’m Not Afraid And Will Beat Your Ass (which has got to go down as one of the best album titles ever), has been talked about as one of their best. Mind you, this is the first Yo La Tengo album I’ve ever bought, so it had better stand up on its own rights. Mostly it does: I’m Not Afraid… veers between noisier songs and some delicate sunny melodies. Songs like “Black Flowers” and “I Feel Like Going Home” are gentle delights. The noisier songs are the longer ones like “Pass The Hatchet, I Think I’m Godlike” and the rockabilly “Watch Out For Me Ronnie”. The falsetto and cowbell combination on Mr. Tough is a real treat and so is the piano and harmonies on “The Weakest Part”.I’m Not Afraid… is maybe a couple of tracks too long. The album is 15 songs stretched well over an hour and two of those songs are over 10 minutes long. That’s not a bad thing, but the Indian psychedelic clunker “The Room Got Heavy” could’ve been dropped off. Also the beautiful instrumental “Daphina” could have been chopped in half down to four minutes without taking away from its lovely sounds. Considering I’m Not Afraid is that long, it’s hard to absorb in a single sitting, but I found repeated listens helped the songs make an impression on me. Give it a try, it might take a while, but I think you’ll fall for Yo La Tengo’s charms.

Yo La Tengo – Mr Tough:



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