Looking Back: Yo La Tengo – Electr-O-Pura
This album is being reissued on September 4th
Yo La Tengo open 1995’s Electr-O-Pura with the familiar Velvet-y groove of Decora, Georgia Hubley’s ghostly vocals combining well with Ira Kaplan’s guitar work. The album takes a darker, heavier turn on the very Sonic Youth-like Flying Lesson, Kaplan seriously impressing on growling guitar riffs, which build in intensity then unravel to a full-on guitar workout, like an even more ragged Stooges. The pace totally drops for the lazy strum of The Hour Grows Late before picking back up on Tom Courtenay. The album lurches back and forth between heavy and light, the spooky Paul Is Dead and gorgeous Pablo and Andrea do a mellow lazy groove in a way only Yo La Tengo can excel at, the latter featuring a searing guitar solo from Kaplan.
The Ballad of Red Buckets has a real Thurston Moore feel to it, while Don’t Say A Word has a classic, almost Joni Mitchell melody to it. The album is not without its annoying moments, I could do without the pointless noise of False Ending and annoying organ of False Alarm, and as for the cacophony of Attack On Love… give it a rest. But the rest of the album is, in the main, very fine. Bitter End is like Lou Reed dragged backwards through a noisy nineties murk. Quite the enjoyable album then, in a pointy-headed Sonic Youth kind of way.