Monday, November 24, 2008

TV On The Radio - Dear Science

TV On The Radio has upped the ante once more— an already considerable sum due to the amount of critical acclaim they’ve garnered in their relatively brief time in the spotlight. This may be their most completely realized record yet. The TVOTR sound we’ve come to love; a glorious melting pot of influences that range from post-punk to surf rock, a capella, electronica and doo wop; is here in spades. Producer/guitarist/keyboardist/badass Dave Sitek comes through again in a big way. The production is spot on, somehow managing to sound more polished and yet edgier due to some of the lyrical content. Many of the songs this time around have a somewhat dancy feel; the sequenced drums, complete with hand claps, having a punchier more propulsive effect than on previous efforts. And songs like Dancing Choose and Golden Age feature big fat analog bass lines. Far from jumping on the dance rock bandwagon, this is yet another string in their sonic bow. Stork and Owl and Love Dog are slow melodic jems, almost melancholic and could hardly be classed as danceable. Family Tree barely has drums at all. The vocals on Dear Science are stellar as is par for TVOTR. Lead singer Tunde Adebimpe’s distinctive voice is as vibrant as ever. Synthesizers, courtesy of Sitek and Gerard Smith, again play a prominent role; lush swirling keys adding depth to the compositions. These guy really went the extra mile for this album, even hiring The Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra to sit in as session musicians. And it shows, the horn arrangements are exquisite, augmenting the other instruments beautifully.

For me, this record is immensely enjoyable from start to finish. There really isn’t a band I can think of now or ever that sounds quite like TV On The Radio, which I guess is about the best compliment you can give to an art-rock outfit from Brooklyn.



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