As the title suggests, Yo La Tengo explores sunny sounds and Brazilian beats on Summer Sun, though, true to form, many of the beats come compliments of a crusty analog drum machine. It seems that frontman Ira Kaplan has relinquished his title as the Jewish Jimi Hendrix and is now shooting for the title of the Jewish João Gilberto. His fiery electric guitar is all but absent, replaced by a classy Hammond organ on tracks such as "Moonrock Mambo." Lyrically, the songs tread the same ground of uneasy love and gentle reassurance; they aren't exactly beach blanket sing-alongs, but they ease into the flowing, formless sounds. No one captures the delicate intricacies of atmospherics as well as Yo La Tengo, and the record follows a nice ebb-and-flow that smooths out the shoreline with placid waters.
Summer Sun has some bright points, mostly on the songs that drummer Georgia Hubley sings, but its defining sound is the drone of mediocrity. But such is the unbearable burden of being Yo La Tengo, as a peerless ten-year run has come to an end.
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