And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out

And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out

4.5 2
by Yo La Tengo
     
 

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What's most remarkable about indie kingpins Yo La Tengo -- in existence for 15 years and now releasing album number ten -- is not that they haven't burned out or faded away, but that they're still pushing their limits at a stage when most bands' creative spark has long fizzled out. The trio's last album, 1997's I CAN

Overview

What's most remarkable about indie kingpins Yo La Tengo -- in existence for 15 years and now releasing album number ten -- is not that they haven't burned out or faded away, but that they're still pushing their limits at a stage when most bands' creative spark has long fizzled out. The trio's last album, 1997's I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE, was widely acclaimed in both underground and overground media, and sales-wise it about doubled Yo La's audience. Rather than repeat that success with another album of buzzing rock songs interspersed with thoughtful ballads, the band have slightly shifted their course, moving away from strict guitar-bass-drum constructs and instead emphasizing the lovely three-way vocal interplay between Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew on more than an hour's worth of slow, dreamy songs. Lines such as Hubley's drawn out "Let my mind go" ("Saturday") will set your mind adrift against textured percussion, keyboards, and gently programmed drum machines. And the Velvet Underground comparisons that have accompanied the band throughout their career remain in tow with the set's meditative, brainy hangover feel and songs like "The Crying of Lot G," on which Kaplan talks his way through a relationship ("You say that all we do is fight, and I think, gee, I don't know that that's true/And I wonder, am I right, or is that part of our problem?"). Just when you're about to nod off around the album's midpoint, "Cherry Chapstick" blasts past you like a kid who can't sit still. It's a bright reminder that the group's skill at churning out righteous melodic nuggets -- electric guitars a-buzz, a kick-in-the-pants backbeat, and a sing-along chorus -- remains fully intact. The album's closer, the subdued and wandering 18-minute coda, "Night Falls on Hoboken," brings back into focus the album's true aim: a deep exploration of the sonics of a song, a scraping at its every perimeter to discover new, rich aural treats. Never in the young history of indie rock has maturity sounded so graceful and good.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
After years as one of indie rock's standard-bearing groups, Yo La Tengo surpasses itself with And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out. A culturally literate, emotionally rich album, on songs like "Let's Save Tony Orlando's House," "The Crying of Lot G," and "The Last Days of Disco," it alludes to The Simpsons, enigmatic author Thomas Pynchon and independent films while exploring the comforting, confining, complex aspects of relationships. "Our Way to Fall" sets Ira Kaplan's recollection of falling in love to a dreamy, down-to-earth backdrop of gently brushed drums, luminous organs and vibes; "The Crying of Lot G" transforms the syrupy sweetness of '50s ballads into a monologue about a relationship's shortcomings. "Madeline"'s shimmery indie bossa-nova and the countrified ballad "Tears Are in Your Eyes" showcase Georgia Hubley's buttery, empathetic voice; her singing makes these vignettes universal as well as personal. Like mature indie rock records such as Pavement's Terror Twilight and Jim O'Rourke's Eureka, And Then Nothing... favors mellow songwriting, detailed arrangements, and eclectic influences, such as the Silver Apples-like drum machines and doo wop backing vocals that adorn many of the songs. The wintry, implosive "Everyday" uses both of these elements, along with a plaintive guitar and hushed, hypnotic vocals, to begin the album on a surprisingly somber note. Similarly, the off-kilter beats, odd piano bursts, and harmonies on "Saturday" add to the song's awkward, uneasy beauty. Finally, nine songs into the album, Yo La Tengo breaks out the whammy and feedback action on "Cherry Chapstick," their most incandescent song since "Sugarcube." Easily one of 2000's most accomplished albums, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out isn't as immediate as some of the group's earlier work, but it's just as enduring, proving that Yo La Tengo is the perfect band to grow old with.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/22/2000
Label:
Matador Records
UPC:
0744861037125
catalogNumber:
10371
Rank:
33786

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And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
wow. this is a real solid album...first heard them off of napster(!) and decided to purchase...very spacey, mellow sounds with the occasional @$$kicker thrown in for good measure. definitely pick up if your in the mood for something different, yet quite good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago