Yo La Tengo

Nuclear War
/matador; 2002/

rating : 6.5



more info:

YO LA TENGO is close to being the best band when it comes down to cover songs. Remember Little Honda on You Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, their Blondie cover (‘Dreaming’), their Beat Happening cover (‘cast a Shadow’), and at least half of Farebook songs (especially ‘Speeding Motorcycle’ with Daniel Johnston …) Here, they are covering the anti-war Sun Ra 80’s song entitled ‘Nuclear War’. The problem with this ep is that the song is played four times and even if the versions differ one from another, it nonetheless gives the impression of a song played four times in a row.

The first version is surprisingly catchy for a cover of a sort of jazz song. The backing vocals are heady and make the song quite lively as a matter of fact. The second version is exactly the same as the first except that the backing vocals are sung by naive children voices, which renders this track more appealing. Indeed, it is rather cute to hear these sweet mischievous voices repeating along ‘motherfucker’ as if you were having a strange nightmare in which children on acid spin round you. The third one is a 15-minutes free-jazz version basically adding a brass anarchy passage to the song. Finally the fourth track is a Mike Ladd remix, which gives you the opportunity to listen to an electronic version of this Sun Ra Yo La Tengo cover.

The cover is jaunty and it undeniably remains in your mind for the rest of the day but this ep becomes quickly boring since the song is repeated fourth time. Anyway, Yo La Tengo die-hard fans can console themselves by downloading (or purchasing for the respectful ones) their instrumental Sounds of the Sounds of Science, their Christmas ep or by waiting the release of their new album in June 2003.


/feb 1st 2003/