February 18, 2000
And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
It's a truth rarely acknowledged by rock bands that relationships are defined by the tiny details, not the grand gestures....
9 / 10
It's a truth rarely acknowledged by rock bands that relationships are defined by the tiny details, not the grand gestures. First glances, awkward dancing, flavours of ChapStick, sleepless silences after arguments in the middle of the night - these are the minutiae of Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley's marriage, if we're to believe their testaments on 'And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out'.
Yo La Tengo find themselves at the tenth-album point in a career memorable for fabulous, eclectic music and hacks always calling them "underrated".
This time, the feedback extravagances have been turned down, the meditations on pop culture that characterised albums like 'Electr-O-Pura' abandoned in the library. In their place, the music's faded to a twilight minimalism of post-folk strums and distant hums, all the better to tighten the focus on Kaplan and Hubley's confessionals. The delicate touch of 'The Crying Of Lot G' is typical, as Kaplan surveys the aftermath of an argument, muttering, "It seems like just a little thing - you don't wanna listen and I can't shut up", conscious that even the most mundane niggle can have a traumatic impact at the time.
Plainly, Yo La Tengo are way off rock'n'roll. 'And Then Nothing...' is a clearly adult, unfashionably sensitive document, all grace and understatement, experimental through what it leaves out, and the effects it plants in the background. There's a sense of shy people talking with unaccustomed candour, tailoring their sound between twin points of intimacy and melancholy. The best comes last as 'Night Falls On Hoboken' unravels, over 17 minutes, into an astoundingly beautiful psychedelic lullaby, borne out of a desire to at least try to banish cares for another night. It works, of course, for now. Like a dream.
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