Album review: Yo La Tengo’s ‘Fade’ is honest and catchy

It’s possible at this point to consider Yo La Tengo as a musical version of Michael Apted’s long-running “The Up Series,” documentaries that since 1964 have followed the same 14 children as they’ve grown and changed. Started in Hoboken, N.J., by guitarist husband Ira Kaplan and drummer wife Georgia Hubley, Yo La Tengo has been documenting lives through music for a quarter of a century now, creating solid, virtually unimpeachable rock ‘n’ roll that offers a model for dual creativity.

On the 13th Yo La Tengo album, the couple works through complicated emotions with as much elegance and grace as ever. A gentle record featuring strings, humming keyboards, the gorgeous roaming bass lines of longtime member James McNew and the occasional muted brass section, “Fade” is classic Yo La Tengo: honest, unpretentious and, above all, catchy.

At its best — the delicate “Cornelia and Jane,” the feedback-heavy cruise-pop song “Paddle Forward,” and the rhythmic, orchestral closer “Before We Run” — “Fade” offers reassurance that the band and the couple at its center are as solid and creatively stable as ever. The family that plays together does indeed stay together.



Yo La Tengo


(Matador Records)

Three and a half stars


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