Even a band as restlessly experimental as Yo La Tengo has to reach a plateau at some point. By now, fans of the quintessential "indie" band know what to expect on their albums: a pretty, string-assisted, mid-tempo pop song here, a quietly up-tempo, gentle, drum-driven ditty there and at least one elegant, groove-laden epic that surpasses the five-minute mark. However, despite the fact that "Is That Enough," "Stupid Things" and "Before We Run" fit these archetypes perfectly, Fade is anything but a retread. The band's 14th record finds Yo La Tengo settling into a late career renaissance that revisits the timbre of some of their best records (especially the quiet grace of And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out) without rehashing them, providing a welcome counterpoint to their slightly louder and more bombastic later efforts: 2006's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass and 2009's Popular Songs. That no other musicians working today sound quite like Yo La Tengo speaks to the distinctiveness of their sound, making the fact that they're still working in the same wide swath of musical territory they cut out for themselves years ago more pleasant than problematic.
Read our exclusive Yo La Tengo interview here. (Matador)