Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

POP MUSIC REVIEW : Understated Intensity From Yo La Tengo

June 22, 1995|SANDY MASUO

The oblique, arty pop that Yo La Tengo has been recording for nearly a decade is veiled with a certain mystique. Sounds emerge and recede without warning, vocals resolve into words then blur just out of focus again. Songs coalesce out of feedback and noise. The very idea of seeing the Hoboken trio perform this music live is somewhat unsettling--like peeking behind the curtain at the actual Wizard of Oz.

Sure enough, the three musicians behind the sonic illusions didn't make spectacles of themselves at the Alligator Lounge on Tuesday, where they played with an alluring, understated intensity.

Ira Kaplan seemed to wring and wrench the music out of his body and channel it through his guitar, which proved to be a more powerful instrument than his voice. Drummer and singer Georgia Hubley and bassist James McGrew hammered out a vigorous rhythmic framework for Kaplan's guitar seizures, which were bracing, beautiful and at times breathtaking.

The 90-minute set flowed like one long and winding tune with moments of hushed harmonizing, turbulent washes of noise, passages of anguish that were blues in all but form, and a few stretches of protracted jamming that were a bit too much of a good thing. But that somehow seemed appropriate for a band that has nothing to hide.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|