TV on the Radio: Nine Types of Light

TV on the Radio
Nine Types of Light

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2008’s Dear Science was a massive step for TV on the Radio, gaining them tremendous airplay as well as the title “Album of the Year” by many magazines and blogs. Anticipation was high for the follow-up. Nine Types of Light couldn’t quite live up to the hype, but it’s still a good album. It’s kind of like David Lynch’s Wild at Heart coming after Blue Velvet, it’s a fine product in it’s own right, but it feels a little disappointing considering it’s superior predecessor. So forget Dear Science for a second and take this album for what it is.

Nine Types of Light is a very rhythmic album, as most of the songs are built up around the beat. Other instruments are then layered on top, forming sonic landscapes. The first highlight comes early in “You.” Guitars and synths keep building on top of each other, always going to a new interesting place while staying on top of the same groove. This whole early section of the album has a strangely spiritual feel. It seems like they are singing chants or prayers rather than conventional songs. Then they show off their sexy side for a while. “Will Do” is an indie slow-jam and “New Cannonball Blues” is total boot-knockin’ music. With its throbbing synth-bass, you can bet a few hipster babies will be created to that one.

As a reward, or maybe a release, the most accessible tracks comes at the end. “Repetition” has the album’s best chorus and an awesome, rowdy bridge/breakdown. “Caffeinated Consciousness,” the album’s last song, is also its most immediate. Maybe this is their idea of a joke. It really doesn’t make much of a difference though where they put it. It’s still a great song on a very good album. Nine Types of Light may not have topped Dear Science but it certainly isn’t a let-down either. I may be jinxing us all, but I don’t think TV on the Radio have a bad album in them.

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