TV on the Radio
Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
Touch and Go
The most respectable thing about TV on the Radio is that they make music for music’s sake. But the backlash of being hyped as Brooklyn’s next big thing probably won’t help in the hippest circles (David Andrew Sitek, whose album credit here is listed simply as “music,” is the producer of the Liars and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), especially with the meandering influences that appear on Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes. TV’s steady, droning beats divulge a cappellas over loop-layered and heavily textured tunes to ruminate by. They certainly have no qualms about taking their audience on a poetic, though sometimes daunting, journey through the human condition. Barbershop-like hymnals are integrated with heavy electro-bass, falsetto floats atop low end synth and not in that angular, jerky off-tune kind of way, it’s Tunde Adebimpe’s pliable vocals that anchor the band’s assuredly distinct sound. Lending structure to the almost granular-sounding instrumentation that may have lost its way, as on “The Wrong Way” and “Dreams,” Adebimpe’s voice slides the scale from grit to soul. Guitars merely twitch in the background while vocals shape the melody and climax of “Staring at the Sun.” On the elegy to romantic dystopia “Don’t Love You,” funkdified organ notes lay the ground for somber lyrics like, “Aching bones on sleepless bed/ They toss and turn and roll away/ From words unsaid.”
TV on the Radio has certainly indulged their artistic thirst. Owing to no one and everyone, they’ve melded the musical past and present into lyrically successful songs that are truly organic: they grow as listening becomes more acute.