TV on the Radio is made up of artists, filmmakers, writers, and musicians, and since 2011, Tunde Adebimpe, David Andrew Sitek, Kyp Malone, Jaleel Bunton and Gerard Smith have been pooling together their creativity and manipulating it into high quality music (however, in April of 2011 bass player Gerard Smith passed away from lung cancer). The boys from Brooklyn reformed into a quartet and created what they are calling their “best work”: Seeds.
Instantly swarming the listener with handclapping, a harmony of chanting, and hypnotic, tribal-like percussion, the crystalized sounds of “Quartz” make their way deep into your brain, controlling your attention and enjoyment for the entire album like a crafty parasite. Lead singer Tunde Adebimpe’s raw vocals seem to add a layer of density to the textural wonder.
“Careful You“ shares a similar steady rhythm, although this time glued together with the sonic buzzing of synthesizers. Adepbimpe’s soulful vocals seem to be a paradox in itself, as the singer releases small-sounding vocal parts that somehow find a way to take over the song’s space.
The guitar riff on “Could You” flips the tone on the album with a fun-loving punch that collides with a stellar horn section, which eventually takes over the hook for an energetic finish.
“Happy Idiot“ was the first single from TVOTR since the 2011 album Nine Types of Light. Excitement overpowered expectations, since the Brooklyn band never ceases to impress, and “Happy Idiot” reminded fans what the band is capable of. Indie dance percussion blasts together with a bass hook, and passive, yet powerful vocals. The upbeat and dance-style tune mixes with the contrasting lyrics of heartbreak: “since you left me babe, it’s been a long way down”.
Mid-album fillers (if you can even have “fillers” on a TVOTR album) such as “Test Pilot” and “Love Stained” do a fair job of maintaining the momentum for the booming track “Ride”. A two-minute instrumental string intro abruptly switches into a rock-steady melody; the remainder of the song never slows down, keeping the song moving forward.
Most of the album maintains a polished and dense quality, but “Winter” breaks the cycle with a lo-fi electric guitar strumming distorted chords amongst the regular howls of Adepbimpe and catchy melody hooks. “Lazerray” holds the tempo firmly fixed at dance-floor ready with indie rock-pop guitar chord progressions and dance-rock percussion, making the song as fun as it is catchy.
The title track holds the final spot on Seeds, dropping both the tempo and musical tones to that of the opening track, as if to complete the cycle of vocal harmonies and hypnotic percussion of the opening track.
The music of TVOTR carries with it an abundance of passion and artistic depth that ages well; Seeds is great now and it will still be great years down the road.
Listen to the full album via YouTube.