Listen. Think. Smile. Repeat
TV on the Radio have reached a musical zenith most indie bands only dream about in the van between shows. Brooklyn’s art-rock kings are critically acclaimed and wildly popular yet never commercially saturated. Their live performances amaze and their two previous releases litter Top 10s like McDonald’s wrappers on Times Square. They effortlessly blazed through talk of the sophomore slump that commonly sinks musical acts emerging with the same heaps of hype. Now they return with third full-length effort Dear Science.Science is as an organized as a whirlwind could be, preserving the forceful impact of traditional TVOTR within a setting that is noticeably lighter and less cluttered. The usual drone of reverberation buzz gives way to instrumental intricacy, blasting horns, doodling guitars, wailing strings and winding keys intermingling rather than building a wall of background hum. Brainy outlines of love, fear, and hesitant optimism are bulleted with handclaps and unorthodox vocal harmonies. “Golden Age” and “Dancing Choose” teeter between danceable and fist-pumping, while “Love Dog” and “Stork & Owl” softly coo over webs of orchestration. “Halfway Home” sizzles with urgency, “Crying” gently floats over drum-machine pop, and “DLZ” artfully rages against foolish politicians.
More arresting is that while each track is individually stellar, they spellbind as a collective unit. Science is sonically different from its predecessors Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes and Return to Cookie Mountain, but confronts the ear with a similar challenge. It dares listeners to climb out of their musical comfort zones and fall in love with something that is truly eclectic and innovative, aggressively beautiful. It is the rare recording that is both instantly compelling and better with each listen.
Dear TV on the Radio,