2008â€™s Dear Science was a massive step for TV on the Radio, gaining them tremendous airplay as well as the titleÂ â€œAlbum of the Yearâ€ by many magazines and blogs. Anticipation was high for the follow-up. Nine Types of Light couldnâ€™t quite live up to the hype, but itâ€™s still a good album. Itâ€™s kind of like David Lynchâ€™s Wild at Heart coming after Blue Velvet, itâ€™s a fine product in itâ€™s own right, but it feels a little disappointing considering itâ€™s superior predecessor. So forget Dear Science for a second and takeÂ this albumÂ 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 â€œYou.â€ 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. â€œWill Doâ€ is an indie slow-jam and â€œNew Cannonball Bluesâ€ is total boot-knockinâ€™ 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 accessibleÂ tracks comes at the end. â€œRepetitionâ€ has the album’s best chorus and an awesome, rowdy bridge/breakdown. â€œCaffeinated Consciousness,â€ the albumâ€™s last song, is also its most immediate. Maybe this is their idea of a joke. It really doesnâ€™t make much of a difference though where they put it. Itâ€™s still a great song on a very good album. Nine Types of Light may not have topped Dear Science but it certainly isnâ€™t a let-down either. I may be jinxing us all, but I donâ€™t think TV on the Radio have a bad album in them.