Bringing the real world into the music world, veterans of indie rock Yo La Tengo release their 15th full-length album There's a Riot Going On. Haunting, soft, and dreamy from beginning to end, this album explores a multitude of sounds, leaving an impression of escaping to an altered reality.
Starting the album off with the sprawling instrumental track "You Are Here," the electric guitars and hazy drones set the tone for the next 14 songs. Tracks like "Out of the Pool" and "Ashes" mix their shoegaze sound with a style of funk similar to the album's namesake, Sly and the Family Stone's 1971 record There's a Riot Goin' On.
Apart from the bouncier tracks, There's a Riot Going On is worthy of being the ultimate late-night album. Appropriately titled "Dream Dream Away" does just that. Playing with psychedelic elements of ample guitar riffs and Ira Kaplan's winsome vocals leaves chills down your spine, giving us the sense of being left in a liminal space.
The more wistful tracks, such as "For You Too" and "Shades of Blue," offer listeners an aural remedy for the heavy-hearted. Georgia Hubley mulls over heartbreak and isolation as she hypnotically sings: "Painting my room to reflect my mood / Facing my feelings, a life without you." By the time you get lost in their powerful sound, these lyrically abstract songs transmit warmth and healing.
There's a Riot Going On is an exceptional addition to Yo La Tengo's legacy, a timeless classic. (Matador)