REVIEW BY: Mike Cirelli
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/19/2009
Maybe TV On The Radio should have switched the titles of their last two albums. The artfully experimental grime rock of 2006’s Return To Cookie Mountain, a daunting labyrinth of acid-washed vocals, guitar fuzz and zany alien textures, deserves a laboratory setting more than their latest release.
Dear Science tones the experimentation down a little, favoring more accessible art-funk rhythms, hooky choruses and foggy piano melodies that Coldplay could play with a calculatedly subdued punk spirit boiling underneath. And while TV’s new style doesn’t exactly bring cookies or any other baked goods to mind, the twinkling keys and circus-nabbed horn harmonies addle the songs with something Cookie Mountain lacked: pop sensibility.
The new style waxes refinement more than commercial surrender, however. “Golden Age” pits a quick, bumpy bass line against a sinewy horn symphony, resulting in an explosive James Brown-meets-Radiohead mash-up. The appealingly bittersweet “Crying,” featuring funked-up guitar melodies atop a twister of electronic bleeps and swirls, recalls Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” with a vocal part that’s just as high and peculiar. And in the Coldplay-influenced “Family Tree,” eerily gorgeous strings waft delicately over Tunde Adebimpe’s ghostlike laments before cascading into a Velvet Underground-worthy piano-drum trot.
Adebimpe makes some insightful observations about the current state of political
With Dear Science, TV tweaks the murky kookiness of Return To