Audio Review: Yo La Tengo – There’s A Riot Going On


Posted 4 months ago in Music Reviews

RD Dublin 2018
Epic

Yo La Tengo

There’s a Riot Going On

[Matador]

Over a 30+ year career characterized by an unparalleled level of consistency, Yo La Tengo’s work has always, to varying degrees, been in conversation with the popular music that preceded them. So, when the Hoboken trio opted to title their latest record in homage to Sly And The Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Going On, they seemed uniquely positioned to apply that seminal record’s spirit to the blighted hellscape that is today’s fractured political and social landscape.

YLT’s TaRGO is a beast wholly distinct from Sly and Co’s. Both records share a soupy warmth and a certain strained soulfulness, but that is where the similarities end. On this pleasantly laid back collection, YLT dabble with a couple of familiar approaches – their deceptively simple, earworm indie-pop and blissfully goofy riffs on the Bossa Nova form are both present and correct. That said, they lean more heavily on spacier aspects of their sound that have been less prominent in recent releases. Droning organs and murmuring synths coalesce with upright bass and the chiming, unplaceable percussion one associates with the hypnotic astro-jazz of Pharoah Sanders and Sun Ra.

If there is in fact a riot going on – the dischord has yet to breach the recording booth. One could have assumed this to be a vitriolic screed of protest – guitar bludgeoning brutality is, after all, a mode that Yo La Tengo have previously excelled in. In reality, TaRGO is less a cathartic howl into the abyss than it is welcome salve for the spirit. Administer aurually and enhance your calm.

Words – Danny Wilson

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