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Monday, December 24, 2007

YO LA TENGO
I Am Not Afraid And I Will Beat Your Ass
(Matador)

Regular visitors to the Power of Pop will be aware that eclecticism is a prized trait. I simply adore albums that jump from genre to genre from track to track, and sometimes within the track itself! Guess I love it when recording artists go out of their way to confound and surprise expectations.
So, based on this preference alone, this glorious smorgasbord of sounds and styles from those indie pop stalwarts Yo La Tengo becomes a surefire favorite around PoP central and a strong contender for album of the year.
These 15 tracks of unnerving brilliance and uncompromising quality deserve every possible accolade. With songs ranging from psychedelic freak-outs (the bookending “Pass the Hatchet, I’m Goodkind” and “The Story of Yo La Tango”), Kinky musichall (the Decemberists-channeling “Beanbag Chair”), chilling baroque pop (“I Feel Like Going Home” & “Black Flowers”), bossa nova ditties (the Todd Rundren-evoking “Mr. Tough”), 12-stringed Rickenbacker-tinged folk rock (“The Race Is On Again”), offbeat oddities (“The Room Got Heavy”), lounge pop (“Sometimes I Don’t Get You” & “Song For Mahlia”), impressionistic ambient (“Daphnia”), driving power pop (“I Should Have Known Better”), pub rock (“Watch Out For Me Ronnie”), alt-country (“The Weakest Part”) & psych-garage (“Point and Shoot”).
Whew!
Perhaps the album should have been titled The History of Rock but that would have been too obvious for a band as contrary as Yo La Tengo. This is an astounding achievement, one that will have pop-rock lovers hypnotized for years to come. A+

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