Summer Sun

Never an easy band to pigeonhole, Yo La Tengo (YLT) has been quietly evolving from a lo-fi skronk rock outfit to an experimental indie pop ensemble during the course of recent years.

Never an easy band to pigeonhole, Yo La Tengo (YLT) has been quietly evolving from a lo-fi skronk rock outfit to an experimental indie pop ensemble during the course of recent years. However, the New Jersey trio's embrace of quiet, more textured atmospherics over complex guitar squall doesn't mean the group has gone easy listening. Beneath the sweet, sunny veneer of Summer Sun, YLT delves deeper into an exploration of jazz and beat-driven influences established on the 2000 set And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out. Some of the most striking tracks—"Don't Have to Be So Sad," with its warm whispering rhythm, and "How to Make a Baby Elephant Float," which is buoyed by a lilting flute solo—feature members of improvisational jazz bands Other Dimensions in Music and Test. While the sequencing, at times, makes for a demanding listen, those willing to invest in close listening and repeated spins will discover a rich album that is artful, at times beautiful, and anything but obvious.—BG