Sunday, July 10, 2011

Review: TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light (2011)

As soon as I heard the first track, Second Song, I knew I was in for a tasty treat. In fact, I was so blown away by the funky beat of the opening song that I kept it on repeat for quite some time, which is unusual for me since I prefer to listen to an album straight through. 

These awesome rockers from Brooklyn, New York know how to create the most diverse music while keeping it soulful and sweet. Nine Types of Light captures the softer side of their songwriting by focusing on themes of love. The lyrics: "I'm gonna keep your heart" and "you're the only one I've ever loved" are some examples of this obvious theme. 

What stood out to me immediately was the variety of instruments used in this album. I was surprised to hear steel drums toward the middle of No Future Shock and the melancholic banjo in Killer Crane was so gorgeous and unexpected that it added a nice change in tempo. Of course, the electronic single, Will Do, was another outstanding track. You can almost hear Talking Heads in their final track, Caffeinated Consciousness.

Overall, I found this album to be one hell of an experience. These guys know how to blend together instruments that make catchy tunes, but they have such a unique style, from post-punk and free jazz to soul music, practically giving them a sound to claim as their own. Nine Types of Light is superb. In my humble opinion, there isn't a bad track on it. Tragically, Gerard Smith (keyboards and bass) died from cancer on April 20, 2011 --shortly after the album was released. This makes the album extra special to me because the funky bass lines will always cause me to remember this man and his talent that I know will never go unrecognized.