TVOTR's Scientific Method | Solid State
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TVOTR's Scientific Method

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 1:43 PM

If you’re just now discovering TV on the Radio, then you have not been properly seeking or scanning. This tantalizing original band has been the worst kept secret in contemporary music for the last half decade. Return to Cookie Mountain (2006) installed the group at the forefront of a new ultra modernism in American music, a cacophonous symphonic meld of clashing stylistic influences fastened on a pop-enthused frame. Dear Science is a stirring addition to their ever proliferating catalog; a stalwart continuation of the band’s hooking groove, and easily one of the best releases of the year.

The combustive escalation of record's jubilant introductory track “Halfway Home” immediately reasserts the bands harmonic originality, truly a piece by band not assuming a torch but dropping it to set ablaze a thrown that is rightfully theirs; "Is it not me?/Am I not culled into your clutch?/The words you spoke I know too much."

click to enlarge 1tvontheradio.jpg

The genius of TV on the Radio lies in their ability to melt down conventions of pop, rock and post-punk while retaining only elements they’re interested in, bombastically leaving traditional narratives, accompaniments and song constructions in their wake.

The chaotically danceable “Crying” is a somber pop song in disguise, a rebuke not on customary pop triflings, but a defiance of encroaching authoritarian repression, of "death under masthead," of "the fattening of vultures.” Croons lead singer Tunde Adebimpe, in his starkly original, raspy tenor, "time to take the wheel and the road from the masters." The catchy guitar lick on “Golden Age” blossoms into an orchestral and delightfully hybrid chorus, synth melding with brass, Adebimpe’s voice the calm in the storm.

The group’s hauntingly somber, distended melodies are on full display in “Family Tree,” where an escape from the record's strident din yields a strikingly stark sentimentality. A despairing set of weighty piano chords are the perfect accompaniment to the track's choral ebbs.

The exquisitely celestial “Love Dog” is a surefire candidate for song of the year. While it maintains the group’s charismatic harmonic ascent, it is a state of reverence and directness as yet unheard in their catalog.Much like the record itself, the song is a reckoning by a group whose creative ingenuity remains dominantly unparalleled in American music. "Curse me out in free verse/Wrap me up and reverse/This patience is a virtue/Until its silence burns you.”

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John Pritchard

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