http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/288f8021749eb4ee977cce77adfba1eebcaa531b.jpg I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass

Yo La Tengo

I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass

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September 20, 2006

It's official: Yo La Tengo suck at titling their albums, but they sure know how to make them. The New Jersey indie-rock trio's latest is easily its best of the past decade or so — the kind of guitar-crazed masterpiece the band used to bang out every couple of years back in the Nineties. They begin and end the album with high-energy psychedelic guitar trances that break the ten-minute barrier without dragging for a second. Ira Kaplan retains his king-of-feedback crown in the epic groove monster "The Story of Yo La Tango," which makes up for the lame joke of the misspelled title with glorious squiggles of sound. Yo La Tengo try lush piano-and-violin ballads ("I Feel Like Going Home"), jangly rockers ("The Race Is On Again") — even a strangely percussive beach-music interlude with a horn section ("Mr. Tough"). There's so much piano and wood block here, you'd suspect they've been studying Peanuts cartoon soundtracks. Twenty years after their debut, Yo La Tengo are in full command.

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