The virtues of Yo La Tengo's stubborn diversity are pleasingly arrayed on I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, an album that plays fast and loose with all manner of indie-rock sounds. In the space of three tracks, the Hoboken trio move from a thrusting rocker ("I Should Have Known Better") to Blues Explosion-style thrash ("Watch Out for Me Ronnie") to a low-key piano piece with the diffident charm of Belle & Sebastian ("The Weakest Part"), without too grinding a change of gears in each case. Elsewhere, they employ baggy horns on "Beanbag Chair", wistful violin on "I Feel Like Going Home", Byrdsy 12-string and overlapping vocals on "The Race is on Again", and jaunty Latino-pop rhythms on the dancefloor-bully dressing-down "Mr Tough", while the whole album is bookended with two slabs of psychedelic rock. So if you don't like one track you won't have to wait long for something different. Their problems are all vocal, as various combinations of the trio employ sprechstimme or falsetto whisper to disguise the lack of a convincing singer.
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