TV on the Radio Dear Science Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

A unique attempt at a self-confessed 'dance record'.

Brad Barrett 2008

There's no sense in analysing the oblique album title - is it an endearment or the opening to a scathing missive? - anymore than it is resisting the black hole gravity of the music. TV On The Radio have streamlined the inflamed and ravaging noise of 2006's Return To Cookie Mountain, developing their blend of myriad genres into a unique attempt at a self-confessed "dance record".

Of course this was always going to be wildly different to other such examples. For one, they haven't abandoned that gorgeous sense of asphyixation and shadowy threat that billows from their previous work. It creeps from David Sitek's squadron of guitars and Tunde Adebimpe's soulful, tear-wringing vocals. It's even in the ghostly backwards percussion on Crying, and the silhouetted synth and violin-plucking on the breathtaking Stork & Owl.

Nevertheless, Prince-spattered basslines and funk-guitar paintjobs run like a rebellious streak through the album, most notably on forthcoming single Golden Age, where Sitek's unexpectedly sparse production brings lightness to their steps. It's testament to their unashamed musical-magpie attitude that the sudden rush of haunting backing vocals, vibrant horns and buzzing fuzz bass come the chorus sound natural in what seems initially to be a sensual pop song.

It's this exceptional talent for layering songs with tiers of ideas, nuances and melodic or textural counterparts which brings this five-piece's undeniable chemistry violently to life. Whether they are crafting lush, piano-led daydreams like Family Tree, or intimidatingly-rendered nightmares like standout DLZ, it's clear that TV On The Radio are unassailable in fusing elements that don't fit into any typical periodic table.

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you choose to use this review on your site please link back to this page.