Yo La Tengo
There’s A Riot Going On
Yo La Tengo have been kicking on for over three decades and are the first band that people think of when Hoboken, New Jersey is mentioned. As well as being the quintessential critics darlings, they are also known to be lovely individuals. The trio give their time freely to support local radio station WFMU by playing impromptu covers and requests during the station’s fundraisers, hold steadfast to their support of local venue Maxwell’s via their annual Hanukkah concerts and if gigs have been cancelled due to issues with a venue, they have been known to set up in the car park and serenade punters with riotous acoustic sets.
The band have barely put a foot wrong over various film soundtracks, compilations and singles, yet things don’t fare so well on their 15th studio album There’s A Riot Going On. Sadly the title is misleading as the last thing that is going on during this hour of tunes is anything close to a riot. The band focus on their slower drones without the memorable hooks or driving guitars that have been littered through the back catalogue.
She May, She Might appears to be charming at face value, but a promising start turns into a forgettable saccharine idea pushed past its limit. A fuzzed out bottom end sits low in the mix on For You Too, which has enough ache, skewed melody and guitar noodling to make it a standout amongst it’s flaccid peers. The second half of the album borders on space rock territory, with What Chance Have I Got being one of the rare moments where Georgia Hubley’s monotone vocals deliver heartbreak, as if she were taking singing lessons from Nico after partaking in all the sedatives.
Being anything less than gushing about Yo La Tengo feels a bit like shooting Bambi, but there is no hiding from the fact that There’s A Riot Going On is like listening to Yo La Tengo whilst navigating a fog. There’s a nap going on would be a more apt title.