After the ambient delights of their recent album We Have Amnesia Sometimes, Yo La Tengo are very much in laid back countrified mode on an EP of covers plus one original song. The tone is set by the group campfire singsong “Blues Stay Away”, originally by The Delmore Brothers. They do a lovely version of The Byrds’ “Wasn’t Born To Follow” which isn’t too dissimilar to the original, if a little less ‘psychedelic’. Hubley’s vocals have great warmth to them on Ronnie Lane’s Roll On Babe. Much darker is their spooked out, slowed down, Hubley-sung, doom version of Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”, akin to the Cowboy Junkies’ treatment of classic songs.
Their own composition, the mellow “Bleeding”, fits in well with the others, shimmering guitars and a generally vague sound for Ira Kaplan to whisper over. The only misfire is The Flying Machine’s “Smile a Little Smile” which is a little too cheesy. While not essential Yo La Tengo, it’ll put a smile on your face for 20 minutes or so.
1. Blues Stay Away
2. Wasn’t Born To Follow
3. Roll On Babe
4. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
6. Smile a Little Smile for Me
Wasn’t Born To Follow