1995, Music

Electr-o-Pura (1995) by Yo La Tengo

My biggest issue with many dream pop bands is that they make music that just doesn’t appeal to me, it’s just a not a sound I particularly enjoy. But there is a subgenre of dream pop which includes noisy guitars, and that’s a subgenre I can usually get behind. That’s the world that Yo La Tengo came from and on some of their records they lean into it more than others. Well, this is one of those, which is a good thing.

As you would expect from any Yo La Tengo record, the songs are catchy. They are always catchy but it helps that this is a pretty decent set for them. Their records have a tendency to sprawl and the material isn’t always quite there. Here I’d say it’s mostly good enough for the run-time as I don’t feel the run-time as I sometimes do.

But the big thing with Yo La Tengo, as compared to their dream pop contemporaries, is they are not a one trick pony. Calling them a “dream pop band” always feels like it’s a misnomer because on many of their records – though hardly all – they are far more diverse musically than most of the bands labeled “dream pop”. And that’s true of this record, which has a slight psychedelic influence at times, and the record drifts into other forms of indie rock enough to keep me interested. I’m not saying this is I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, but it’s definitely much more diverse than you might expect. They are a far more creative band than the term “dream pop” gives them credit for and I always enjoy it when they decide to try different things.

And the record sounds good 25 years later. One of the nice things about this band is that they recorded their albums well. Though their particular sound can definitely be dated to the ’90s, the sound of their albums can’t so much, which is a good thing.
Not their best album, but one of their best, I think. (This is coming from someone who’s heard maybe half of them, at best.)

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