Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Yo La Tengo: Painful [Matador, 1993]
Correcting for off-and-on songwriting by declining to write full-fledged ones, they turn into Hoboken's answer to My Bloody Valentine on this expansive collection of riffs to jam on. The difference is that even at their most aleatory, which in a close contest is probably the Hammond B-3 workout "Sudden Organ," they're always friendly. This is not the forbidding experimentation of an aspiring vanguard. This is the fooling around of folks who like to go out on Saturday night and make some noise--and then go home humming it. A-