Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Yo La Tengo: I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One [Matador, 1997]
No one has made more of bohemian easy-listening--cocktail samba, trance-skronk, good old-fashioned slow ones than Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, boho dream couple and cultural miniaturists. From the misshapen piano figure that trumps "Moby Octopad"'s Peter Townshend guitar swell to "Deeper Into Movies"' raveup workout, from Georgia's simulated Astrud Gilberto cover to James McNew's simulated Neil Young ballad, this is a band that has figured out what makes its faves tick and its tickers beat as one. The very peak is "Autumn Sweater," which with its "We could slip away" refrain comes on like (gulp!) a cheating song, only to reveal itself as Ira's diffident, lovestruck tribute to Georgia's companionable support. Modest rather than narrow, their joy and sadness are no less sweet or intense for the larger life they know nothing of. A