For Fans Of
TV on the Radio return with their fifth studio album, ‘Nine Types of Light’, enforcing the Brooklyn band’s penchant for one hell of a groove, continuing to innovate with their dance rock and soul.
The vocals beautifully stand out on this record, having been recorded with such clarity and emphasis, starting with lead singer Tunde Adebimpe’s succinct mantra on the opener, ‘Second Song’. The track transcends into an addictive groove, encapsulated by Adebimpe’s change from low tones to a toe-tapping falsetto, aided by the backing vocals.
That’s not to say that this talented group don’t get a lot out of their other instruments either. The chorus on ‘No Future Shock’ highlights how the band can revolve their sound around a core dance beat, assisted by their programmer and synthesiser. It’s so damn catchy, highlighting TV on the Radio’s incredibly unique style, which blends so many sounds including horns, strings and keys.
The album highlights the band’s clever musicianship whilst always returning to the clarity of Adebimpe’s vocals as a signpost, as in ‘Killer Crane’ where he sings elegantly: “Sunshine I saw you through the hanging vine, a memory of what is mine fading away”. Single, ‘Will Do’, begins with a deceiving xylophone/percussion introduction which then becomes a fantastic chorus. It is slower than others, can be seen as the closest the band get to a ballad, but the chorus beat keeps the song driving and the lyrics stay in your head for days; “Anytime will do, my love, anytime will do, what choice of words will take me back to you.”
The lyrics in parts of ‘New Cannonball Run’ are like a melodic rap, with a beautiful melody running underneath them as the vocalists are joined at the end by a soaring horns part. Next is ‘Repetition’, working so well as a follow-up song, using a funky and building drumbeat which ends with roughly a minute of the most catchy and energetic lyrical hook on the album, as Adebimpe repeats frenetically: “My repetition, my repetition is this.” It may sound simple but man, it doesn’t get funkier than that.
‘Nine Types of Light’ again proves how enormously talented TV on the Radio are, displaying their individual blend of dance beats juxtaposed with tradional instrumentation, with everthing from guitars to drums to horns. Not to mention the clarity and genius of the vocals. For existing fans of the band, this album will be a return to form, but for others, their unique sound may be a bit overwhelming and hard to get into at times. ‘Nine Types of Light’ is definitely an album you’ll want to listen to several times to get the most out of all the musical nuances, but it is a complete delight once you do.
1. Second Song
2. Keep Your Heart
4. No Future Shock
5. Killer Crane
6. Will Do
7. New Cannonball Blues
10. Caffeinated Consciousness