On their 16th album, Hoboken trio Yo La Tengo crack open with strings, layering as complex and listenable as Beck, and their own dreary/dreamy vocals in “Here to Fall,” the opener track. Download this track; it is as exciting and groovy as any you’re bound to find in the vein of Depeche Mode (and there’s strings, to boot). “Popular Songs” is chock-a-block with similarly poppy tracks, and for a moment, the album seems to have more focus and enjoyability than their typical spacious space jams. But even here they supply, as the last three tracks are 7+ minutes each, so as to not disappoint the longtime Yo La Tengo listener. These tracks are good, but the nine that precede them are what you come for: an eclectic and distinctly indie take on pop from a band that has spent 25 years defying it. Also take home the incredibly awkward “Periodically Double or Triple,” and 70s styled “If It’s True.” A strong indie-flavored album that’s surprisingly fun and enjoyable. Recommended.
Listen to “Periodically Double or Triple”: http://www.myspace.com/453173424