bond as the Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward of the garage. They're the most creatively fierce married band mates in music history - well, except for maybe Missing Persons.
The Hoboken, New Jersey, trio's beautiful new album, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, is a quiet, delicate meditation on this bond. Kaplan and Hubley sing their most confessional, intimate lyrics ever, over whispery guitars, brushed percussion, vibes and organ drones. It's a spell of blissful, psychedelic make-out music, what Revolver might have sounded like if the Beatles had tried putting "Here, There and Everywhere" and "Tomorrow Never Knows" into the same song. Bassist-vocalist James McNew takes a supporting role as Hubley and Kaplan tell their love story, a testimony to a life of promises kept and burdens shared and secrets entrusted. Obviously, we're not talking top-of-the-pops material here, but it's the softer side of Yo La Tengo, with Kaplan cutting down on his famous guitar feedback for the finest batch of marital ballads since Lou Reed's The Blue Mask.
The last time Yo La Tengo got this heavily into atmospherics, on 1992's May I Sing With Me, they sounded dour and murky. But since then they've learned the secret that has eluded keyboard droners from Tangerine Dream to Tortoise: Atmospherics are a dime a dozen compared with actual songs. And these songs are great - heartfelt, rugged, melodically sumptuous enough to keep unfolding after dozens of spins, full of folk-rock flesh and blood. In "Last Days of Disco," Kaplan sings about his first dance with Hubley, his Everydude voice full of rapt wonder: "And the song said, 'Let's be happy'/I was happy/It never made me happy before." They trade memories of their early days - Ira trying not to stare, Georgia wobbling on her platform shoes - with a narrative flair they've never even attempted before.
The songs face up to the daily struggles of the adult conjugal mojo. But even in stark confessions like "Tears Are in Your Eyes," it's inspirational to hear these two legendary hearts sticking up for each other musically when the lyrical going gets tough. And Then Nothing has its weak spots, especially the draggy opener, "Everyday," and fans will miss the up-tempo rockers. But if Yo La Tengo's 1997 gem, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, covered every base like an indie Sign o' the Times, And Then Nothing<