Monday, September 22, 2008

TV On The Radio - Dear Science

TV on the Radio
Dear Science
(09.2008, DGC/Interscope)
Verdict = Better than Return to Cookie Mountain

TV on the Radio has emerged as one of the most distinctive voices on the modern indie music landscape (though they’re not technically indie anymore) and as such will always be walking a thin line in regards to follow up albums with fans ready to yell “sell out” at a moments notice. Fortunately, Dear Science, doesn’t fall into to that Modest Mousian trap, but there are still going to be a lot of raised eyebrows when it comes to TVOR’s third full length because things are “different.” Different isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Return to Cookie Mountain was different, but it was also immediately arresting, darting straight for the jugular. Dear Science, is different in a much less flashy sense that is bound to send many listeners into ‘meh’ mode upon first listen. It’s unfortunate really. Hasn’t TV on the Radio earned more from us? After the near perfection of Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes and the gripping noise pop of Return to Cookie Mountain, doesn’t TV on the Radio deserve our trust or at least a thorough, unbiased evaluation of their most recent effort? Well, I have attempted just such a thorough, unbiased listen of Dear Science, and it turns out that TV on the Radio has scored yet again. While TV on the Radio may never be able to contain the wide eyed excitement of Desperate Youth, Dear Science, has much more staying power than their still great sophomore effort. Yeah, the beautiful wall of sound is gone, but the pop aesthetics here and the minimalistic pulse propels each song deep into your head taking special time to embed itself into your memory banks while inciting mandatory head nodding. I think one of TV on the Radio’s strong points is the incessant creative use of a limited palate to produce the most well formed songs. Lead singer Tunde Adebimpe’s vocals seem to be a little less the focal point of the songs this time around and the balance is refreshing. Where their previous releases have been extremely potent on first listen, slowly showing signs of ware with repeated listen, Dear Science, finds the opposite true with understated songs that seem to grow exponentially upon repeated listens. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years Dear Science, will reveal itself as their best album to date.

-Mr. Thistle


wooly mammal said...

rainbows came out of that creature's armpits at the end of the video. i dont get it.

Anonymous said...

why ya gotta hate on modest mouse? they made The Moon and Antarctica when they "sold out". come on!

Justin Snow said...

Great review. I haven't heard the record yet, though.

I'm not sure if when you say that Dear Science is minimal that you mean to imply their previous works weren't. I think Young Liars and Desperate Youth were super minimal and if you mean to liken Dear Science to those, then I'm ridiculously excited. I really enjoyed Cookie Mountain but it seemed like they lost something when their sound grew. And as great as Young Liars and Desperate Youth are, I'm surprised that you said they were "extremely potent on first listen." I personally thought they were engaging at first but definitely revealed a lot of little things upon several listens.

Well, regardless, I'm really looking forward to hearing Dear Science and I'm sure it's going to be amazing.

is Mr. Thistle and Sassigrass said...

Anonymous - Sorry for the Modest Mouse comment. I actually love Modest Mouse. Unfortunately, they've slipped quite hard as of late.

Justin - touche, they've always been minimal. Dear Science is definitely stripped of the wall of sound on Cookie Mountain. It is a potent first listen and a grower...what more could you ask for?