Monday, April 11, 2011

TV on the Radio, 'Nine Types of Light'

Could be that the breathlessly lauded TV on the Radio is operating on some encrypted frequency that’s beyond mortal ears, but the Brooklyn, N.Y., head-trippers mostly sound asleep at the switch on their fifth album. “Second Song’’ sets the somnolent pace, with a barely focused monologue pulled from a boorish waking dream. It’s not until halfway through where a sexy vocal pass arrives and the band whips into a horn-flaring funk. Where is the taut psychedelic excitement of previous gems such as “Staring at the Sun’’? Or the wiry post-punk fuzz of “Wolf Like Me’’? Or the skewed, choppy funk of “Crying’’? “Keep Your Heart’’ is a morose would-be seduction with a groaning vocal that deliberately conceals the beauty hinted at in the brief choruses. One must wait until “Will Do’’ or “No Future Shock’’ for a memorable melody to break through. “Repetition’’ eventually, mercifully, unleashes a tightly wound guitar blast and a furiously spit vocal, while “Caffeinated Consciousness’’ is artfully jagged. There’s probably a lot to be cherished under the surface of the slower songs, but, honestly, who has the motivation to work for it? (Out tomorrow)

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