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Audio CD, May 2, 1995
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Electr-O-Pura + Painful + And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Around the time Electr-o-pura came out in 1995, American music critics were starting to recognize Yo La Tengo as a standout band. The Hoboken, New Jersey, trio lived up to that newfound billing on this release, fully realizing the fruits of what they had started on Painful. It was there that Yo La stopped thinking of themselves as a three-piece band with guitar, bass, drums, and the occasional keyboards, instead opening up walls of sound, patterns upon patterns over which Ira Kaplan's guitar soars, dives, and spirals. It's amazing that a great pop song ("Tom Courtenay"); a lopey, sleepy ballad ("Pablo and Andrea"); a droney, open-ended jam ("Blue Line Swinger," with which the band closed its shows for years); and a couple of out-and-out freak-outs could all coexist so naturally. Though there are bands that have mastered each one of those aspects better than Yo La had at this point, not one could combine them into one work as sublime as Electr-o-pura. --Randy Silver

1. Decora
2. Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)
3. The Hour Grows Late
4. Tom Courtenay
5. False Ending
6. Pablo And Andrea
7. Paul Is Dead
8. False Alarm
9. The Ballad Of Red Buckets
10. Don't Say A Word (Hot Chicken #2)
11. (Straight Down To The) Bitter End
12. My Heart's Reflection
13. Attack On Love
14. Blue Line Swinger

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 2, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B00000581V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,673 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Wheelchair Assassin on February 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
While some albums can grab you and beat you over the head with their brilliance upon first listen, others take more time to appreciate, slowly revealing new details with each listen until you're fully able to grasp their entirety. "Electr-O-Pura," however, is that rare album that manages to do both. The day after getting this album I played it five times in a row straight through, and I've only become more addicted to it since. To say it's like a drug would probably be an understatement: I doubt there's a drug out there with a pull this strong. I thought Sonic Youth were the masters of the guitar-driven noise-rock soundscape, but until you've heard Yo La Tengo you don't know the half of it.
The array of mind-bending guitar sounds that Ira Kaplan creates is nothing short of staggering, but his endless creativity and dizzying technical proficiency are only the beginning of what makes this such a great album. "Electr-O-Pura" is more about texture than anything else, as guitars, voices, and rhythm section intertwine, all the sounds dancing around each other without any ever achieving supremacy. Instead, the elements all coalesce to form some of the most sublime, fascinating sounds that a rock band has ever produced. I know I may not be doing the best job of describing it, but one listen to the jaw-dropping "The Ballad Of Red Buckets" should nicely illustrate what I mean. It's not necessarily the album's best song (more on that later), but I do feel it best exemplifies its overall sound. If that makes sense.
What's perhaps most amazing about this album is that while the songs all hang together in a coherent whole, most of them are simultaneously able to establish their own identities, as Yo La Tengo experiment wildly without ever abandoning their song-oriented approach.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Shawn on January 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
As each subsequent YLT album has come out, I have, for a short time, wondered if it would replace "Electr-O-Pura" as my favorite album in the world (that's ALBUM, not just YLT album). "I Can Hear the Heart..." came close for a month or two. "And then nothing..." came closer. It spent months in my CD player without being interrupted by anything else. But something about the album was too perfect, too careful. Going backwards, "Painful", while not as perfect an ALBUM experience, has some individual tracks that offer the most sublime listening experiences to be found (although "Pablo and Andrea", "Tom Courtenay" and "Blue Line Swinger" go beyond anything the band attempted on that album), and perhaps make Painful a little more FUN to listen to.

One day, though, after the glow of these other releases had worn off, I put my old friend "Electro" back on the CD player, and instantly, a smile came to my face. This was the pinnacle. While not as high-reaching or sonically conceptual as "And Then Nothing..." (or, arguably, even "Summer Sun"), and not as brashly fun or catchy as many prior efforts, "Electro" was made at that perfect point in YLT's career when everything came together in perfect balance, when they were confident enough and musically/lyrically accomplished enough to brashly go beyond anything Indie rock had ever produced, but naive enough to not let themselves be reigned in by conceptual restraints or pop perfectionism. Don't get me wrong. I admire subsequent releases for their attributes just as much as (in some ways more so than) this album. They have a grander vision, more experimentation, more musical and lyrical experience and skill behind them.

Don't get me wrong about this album, either.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Falling in between two of the most acclaimed Yo La Tengo albums ("Painful" and "I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One"), "Electr-O-Pura" is a bit of an orphan in the group's catalog, which I've always found difficult to understand. Why was the world ready for "I Can Hear..." (which if anything, sounds like a tamer, less interesting version of this album) but not "Electr-O-Pura"?
I often hear "harsh" and "inconsistent" used as adjectives to describe "Electr-O-Pura." However, those are givens with YLT; "Fakebook" is the only album they've made that didn't jump all over the place, sometimes in ear-breaking ways. What "Electr-O-Pura" really offers is a sprawling tour of everything YLT can do, delivered with finesse and confidence. The album is overflowing with ideas and (usually) nonindulgent experimentation.
First, the quieter stuff: There's nothing on "I Can Hear..." as beautiful and perfect as the shimmering, exquisite "Pablo and Andrea," quite possibly the group's finest song, with Georgia Hubley's warmest, most seductive vocals ("I'll cover for you like a slipcover covers a chair"). Plus, Ira Kaplan's soaring guitar solo never fails to deliver goosebumps. An absolute masterpiece. "Don't Say a Word," "The Hour Grows Late," "My Heart's Reflection," and "Ballad of Red Buckets" are other (mostly) quiet, gorgeous songs.
Noise rears its sometimes ugly head throughout the album, with the (fortunately) short skronk piece "Attack on Love" being the worst offender.
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