Continuing its nearly 30-year run as Hoboken’s darlings of indie rock, Yo La Tengo returns with Fade, the band’s 13th LP. While the 10 sweet and concise songs here might be initially labeled as underwhelming, as was the band's largely underrated Summer Sun LP, Fade captures the most personal and refined sounds recorded by the trio to date.
This time around, John McEntire (Tortoise, Sea and Cake, et al) stepped in as producer, marking the first time the band has worked without longtime producer Roger Moutenot. While McEntire didn’t try anything too drastic, there is a subtle emphasis on a cleaner arrangements and effects. It’s still Yo La Tengo through and through, but previous experiments and touches of sound seem fully realized this time around.
The stringed accompaniments on “If It’s True” from 2009’s Popular Songs reappear on tracks like “Is That Enough” and “Cornelia and Jane,” the latter capturing the shadowy glumness of Georgia Hubley’s beautifully solemn vocals.
Fade doesn’t have the immediacy of Yo La Tengo’s greatest moments, but does helm some of the band’s most intimately engaging songs. This one will definitely grow on you.