This album gets off to the same start as The Whole Love, Wilco’s 2011 offering. Both albums served as a reminder that a band that seemed like they’d been around forever could still kick out the jams and produce a good album, and they made sure that you knew it right off the bat with the first track. In Fade‘s case, it’s “Ohm”, a very Yo La Tengo noise pop track that has a sort of traditional structure, and then fades into some rocking out, and then back again. The track comes in at almost 7 minutes, and it’s nothing new for the band; 2006’s I Am Not Afraid of You… starts off the same way, with “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind”, an 11-minute track which may well be my favorite offering from the band.
Yo La Tengo is in their 27th year as a band, and continue with their tradition or remarkable consistency and musical depth. And bass licks. “Well You Better” slays. They have been drifting from the noisier sound of their early material to the dream pop that dominates Fade, and they’re excellent at both. None of the tracks will strike you as particularly memorable, but they’re all well-written, and work both as parts of the cohesive whole and as standalone tracks.
There’s not much more to say. I get it, some people aren’t really down with records like this. They’re too mellow, too focused on the rhythms, the vocals are a little hard to hear through the fuzz.
But if you aren’t bothered by downright strange things like those, then pick up Fade. It’s not the best thing the band has put out, but it’s very solid, and well-worth a listen.