The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, October 10, 2008, Music

TV on the Radio

Dear Science (DGC/Interscope)

On 2006's Return to Cookie Mountain, TV on the Radio sounded frustrated, but they also found a way over the wall of reverb that populated their earlier albums with the single "Wolf Like Me." On third full-length Dear Science, the Brooklynites have turned a corner, safe in the knowledge they can pen a good pop song. Not everything works, of course: "Crying" floats by undetected, and "Red Dress" feels forced in its funk. However, opener "Halfway Home," with its chorus of "buh-buh-bums," sounds downright joyful, and on "Dancing Choose," which gets groove assistance from the Antibalas horns, singer Tunde Adebimpe raps with the manic energy of a man hemorrhaging ideas ("Angry young mannequin, American apparently"), filtering them to great effect over a clocking synth. "Golden Age" sounds totally Bowie, but the horns and beats update Adebimpe's cultural disillusionment ("What we viewed as gold I believe pollutes this space") into a call to arms. "Love Dog" is TVOTR doing what they do best – soulful and reverent – which lends an enamored edge to closer "Lover's Day" and finds them fulfilled. (TV on the Radio tunes in to Stubb's Thursday, Oct. 30.)


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