Yo La Tengo

This Stupid World

Matador • 2023

In their almost forty-year band history, Yo La Tengo have played many roles: The most moderate noise rock band in the world; the inventors of ambient noise rock with »And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out«; one of the best cover bands in the world (sometimes as Condo Fucks, sometimes under their own name); the makers of the best indie noise pop album with »I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass«; and absolute critics’ favourites in general. There’s only one thing that Yo La Tengo have never been: replaceable. With »This Stupid World« they pick up where they left off. (Okay, not with the cover band thing.) The nine songs from the band from Hoboken, New Jersey once again move in somnambulistic mid-tempo through guitar landscapes, while Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley sing about time passing by. (»One day walking, walking upon leaves and then snow.«) It’s all a bit more moderate than before, consistently so reduced that the first songs seem like little time capsules, so fragile, so unsteady. You listen to them until they disappear into silence again after three or four minutes, leaving you with the question, »why does time have to be such an asshole?«. And then the title track comes and demolishes it all with its guitar, breaks it all down to seven minutes, throws the Beach Boys tambourine on top of the best indie noise. »This stupid world, it’s killing me. This stupid world is all we have.« Reassuringly disquieting. And implemented perfectly on this album.