I've done it again. I've discovered a group long after they've been around (although I'd seen their releases for a long time) and after hearing their newest release have gone backwards in their catalogue and picked things out. With Yo La Tengo, I have yet to be disappointed fortunately. I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One is their release one previous to And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out and while their are some things different about it, stylistically the two make a lot of sense together. While their newer release is a decidingly more somber affair, there are a few flourishes, and I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One is just slightly more edgy. It's a little more upbeat (with more moments of crunchy guitars) offset with others of delicate quiet.
Once again, the group doesn't let anyone down in terms of sheer album length and although it doesn't clock in as long as the whopping 77 minutes of And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, the release runs well over an hour long with 16 tracks and goes from quiet and introspective to rollicking. The album actually starts out on a quiet note with the short instrumental of "Return To Hot Chicken" (and it echoes the simple beauty of their Danelecto EP) before moving into the feedback washed "Moby Octopad."
Both of those tracks, though, are just a setup for the amazing rocker of "Sugarcube." A classic-sounding three and a half minute song, it rocks out with just the right amount of guitar feedback and rumbling bass underneath the two-part vocals by Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley. You'll be singing along with them and putting the song on mix tapes to crushes in no time at all. Of course, the group can offset that noise perfectly as well, as they do on tracks like the quiet and sweet "Shadows" (on which Hubley takes solo vocal duties) or "Damage" (in which multiple layers of quiet feedback ebb and flow in the distance like some threatening storm that never quite reaches you.
They manage to get a little funky on the organ flavored "Autumn Sweater" before kicking out the cobwebs again on the cover of the Beach Boys' "Little Honda." If there was ever a song that should sell summer cruising, this one is it. Of course, they even manage to pull off a loungey little bossanova track ("Center Of Gravity"), a spaced-out jam track ("Spec Bebop") and even more atmospheric instrumentals ("Green Arrow," which wouldn't have felt at all out-of-place on And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out). Basically, it's another great album from the group and it's also much more varied in sound (as can probably be discerned from above). If you like the group, you probably already no doubt have this release, but if you're just getting into them like I am, you won't go wrong here.