I Can Feel The Heart Beating As One

Yo La Tengo

Matador Records, 2002

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/11/2004

You've partied your teens and early-to-mid twenties away. It's a Friday night and you're too tired to meet with your single friends at a new hipster/dive bar with shitty service and outrageously high prices for drinks. All you and your significant other have to look forward to is a Friday night at home, a bin full of laundry and a CD player.

Domesticated life is often thought of as complacency and the surrender of recklessness. Fortunately, someone forgot to tell Yo La Tengo this. The trio, consisting of married couple Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley and bassist James McNew, have been poster children/punching bag boys for the indie rock movement since 1991. However, it wasn't until the late '90s when Yo La Tengo released back-to-back masterpieces ( my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 I Can Feel The Heart Beating As One and And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out) that the band gained national critical acclaim. The band even made it into "The Hipster's Handbook" - as author Robert Lanham generalized that if you possess a Yo La Tengo record, virtually anyone in the world can kick your ass.

To call I Can Feel The Heart Beating As One downtempo is like calling Green Day's Kerplunk! hyper. The album is an atmospheric wonder with a few truly great, catchy songs scattered about with a Beach Boys cover ("Little Honda") thrown in for good measure. "Sugarcube" is as sweet as the title entails. Still, most of the album progresses in a trance-like format. If you have listened to NPR on a regular basis for the past five years, no doubt you've heard bits of this album played in snippets in between air segments.

Comparisons to the Velvet Underground are inevitable: both have a bookish, elitist fan base, both bands have albums engaged in heavy feedback and both are undeniably cool. Still, once the smugness wears off after a few listens, the listener is left with some truly beautiful songs, namely Hubley's ethereal singing on "Shadows" and the aptly-titled "Autumn Sweater."

I Can Feel The Heart Beating As One may not contain the doe-eyed romanticism of more traditional romantic-themed albums. The only thing romantic about the album is its overall feel -- a couple sharing in the joys of making some truly great tunes. But if that's not romantic, than I don't know what is.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2004 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Matador Records, and is used for informational purposes only.