Yo La Tengo - Electr-o-pura

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-09-09

Around the time Electr-o-pura came out in 1995, American music critics were starting to recognize Yo La Tengo as a standout band. The Hoboken, New Jersey, trio lived up to that newfound billing on this release, fully realizing the fruits of what they had started on Painful. It was there that Yo La stopped thinking of themselves as a three-piece band with guitar, bass, drums, and the occasional keyboards, instead opening up walls of sound, patterns upon patterns over which Ira Kaplan's guitar soars, dives, and spirals. It's amazing that a great pop song ("Tom Courtenay"); a lopey, sleepy ballad ("Pablo and Andrea"); a droney, open-ended jam ("Blue Line Swinger," with which the band closed its shows for years); and a couple of out-and-out freak-outs could all coexist so naturally. Though there are bands that have mastered each one of those aspects better than Yo La had at this point, not one could combine them into one work as sublime as Electr-o-pura. --Randy Silver

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