Category Archives: TV On The Radio

TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light

TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light

4/5

2011

Following the release of 2008’s acclaimed Dear Science, many members of TV On The Radio got the opportunity to focus on some extracurricular activities—Kyp Malone’s Rain Machine, David Sitek’s Maximum Balloon, Tunde Adebimpe’s appearance in the film Rachel Getting Marriedbefore following Sitek’s lead and relocating to Los Angeles to record a follow-up. Well, it looks like the time off and the sunny Pacific vibes did the band some good because Nine Types Of Light is easily the most relaxed and positive TVOTR outing yet. Though Dear Science had a few hopeful streaks running through it, there has always been great tension in the band’s lyrics and unpredictable, kinetic music. But here on Nine Types, nearly everything is smoother and slicker, emphasizing the band’s soul and R&B influences more than ever.

Opening with “Second Song” signals their intent: beginning with a spacy monologue, the track quickly moves into a falsetto-sung soul anthem. It’s gentler and more accessible than any of their previous first tracks, and, for the most part, the rest of the album follows suit. The late-night blues of “Keep Your Heart” and “Killer Crane” are moments of spacious beauty, while “New Cannonball Blues” and the delightful “You” work inviting grooves. Even if there are stretches that are undeniably melancholy, the songs usually find light at the end of tunnel such as in the fantastic “Will Do” and its tale of a rejected but stubbornly optimistic lover. But this isn’t simply an album of slow jams and TVOTR still remain loud and unpredictable on the INXS-esque “Caffeinated Consciousness” and the paranoid funk of “No Future Shock.” Some longtime fans may initially be ruffled by the more streamlined approach the band takes here, but they shouldn’t fear because after a few listens, the band’s greatest strengths—Adebimpe and Malone’s passionate vocals, the carefully considered lyrics, Sitek’s inventive production—are more than apparent. At the same time, though, since the group is less ambitious here than in the past, the album lacks the depth of their last few records and may come across as vaguely disappointing here and there, even if there are no glaring weak spots. Yet in any case, TV On The Radio have always been an intelligent band, and with Nine Types Of Light, that intelligence has been translated in such a way that the group should be able to gain a much larger audience.

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