I love I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One. I didn’t initially but, over the years, I’ve come to really, really enjoy it and also come to regard it as one of the great indie rock albums of the era. One of the things I love about it is its relative diversity something that is missing from this record.
I am not familiar enough with Yo La Tengo’s career to know which of the couple records of theirs I’ve heard is most representative but I’m gathering that I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One, the first album of theirs I’ve heard and the one I like most, is probably least representative. And that’s a bit of a shame. This album reminds me at times of a hazier, dreamier Luna, if Luna were a little closer to their origins in Galaxie 500, albeit without the noise.
I find Yo La Tengo to be good enough songwriters for this genre. I’d say they are above average for the genre but I think I’ve mostly only heard the very best examples of the music so they’re probably better than I think. Though this is a long record – a titch too long – there are plenty of good songs here and the material is mostly strong enough to carry the length.
My issue is more with the heavy dream pop vibe. It’s a genre I don’t love to begin with and I basically always prefer the the noisier end of the spectrum. But this record is dreamy and hazy and slow and subdued. It is absolutely not my thing.
That doesn’t mean it’s bad. Like I said, the songs are good. (I like imagining different versions of them.) And their take on dream pop is, at times, more varied and interesting than others’. (Take, for example, the piano and sound effects in “Saturday”.) But there’s not enough here for me. If I had heard this before I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One I’m not sure I ever would have listened to that.