Well, I’ve already reviewed the album, it was one of my favourites from last year, the first best album of the year – and now there’s a deluxe edition – worth having, worth hearing, particularly if you haven’t already forked out for the album. And particularly if you’re excited about the band’s upcoming appearance at Wellington’s International Arts Festival.
Hey, so back with that original review of the single-disc album I said:
On first listen – beyond a half-dozen pretty, happy, lovely, slightly fuzzy/hazy songs – you might be a little upset to find no big wig-outs; no 10-minute songs that build into a giant jam, or start off in the wake of an explosion and eventually tunnel back to the heart of a pop song. No, not this time. The songs are shorter, if not sharper. They still colour over the lines, scribbling into place a pretty melody that pokes through the noise of what you could easily pass off to many listeners as a Velvet Underground offcut.
You get the feeling that Yo La Tengo songs have always existed – you can spot all the influences/references and that’s a valid reason to just put on one of the records and sit with it, listening for the sport of it as much as anything. But you could also believe that all the songs were built at the start of the band’s career and then they just wait a few years before picking a selection to scatter across a record.
Of course I mean all of that positively, when in fact so many people would interpret that as calculated fan-boy music – and one of the reasons to turn away from this favourite amongst critics. There’s no cynicism in what Yo La Tengo does. They just have the formula; the not-so-secret secret. Yet somehow, whenever you hear it, a new batch of songs, a new album, you are reminded that it all sounds like fresh magic. Again and again, every time.
Yeah, well, all of that still applies – but thing is with this bonus disc it’s an actual full album-length bonus and it has the usual audio ephemera – the live tracks, the demos but there are the wig-out jams, the big fuzzy noises and the 10 minute guitar-a-thons. There’s also a really nice Todd Rundgren cover and an absolutely ludicrous ZZ Top one. All good fun. I love this band and this is just another reason to be pleased by them – they care about the fans, not for them some three-track tack-on, nah, it’s all about the right kind of indulgence. Here’s 70 more minutes of music. Okay, so some of it isn’t as good as the original album (because if it was it would already have been released, first time around) but if you buy this version you will find some treats within the extras.