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So here it is. One of the most anticipated albums of the year. Dear Science, the third album from New York art-rock experimentalists TV On The Radio. I got this album at the same time as a couple of other big albums in the form of Bloc Party‘s Intimacy, and Kings of Leon‘s Only By The Night. I’ve not got around to the KoL album yet, and I’m reserving judgement on Intimacy til the full physical release next month. Dear Science, however, is a cracker.

Since Return To Cookie Mountain came out in 2006, and was subsequently named Spin Album of the Year, (which turned out to be just one element of the album’s huge critical acclaim) the musical world has been eagerly anticipating Dear Science. We’re talking expectations of life-changing, music-industry-changing maybe even world-changing brilliance here. Well, I’ve heard it, and it’s only an album at the end of the day. It’s just like the rest I’ve heard this year, but better. Change your life it will not, and it was never going to. Get over it.

One key difference here to Return To Cookie Mountain is immediacy. RTCM took a few listens to “get”, and no doubt Dear Science will reveal it’s true wonders with time, like fine wine, without the psychoactive drug effects (probably). However Dear Science is also quick to hit you, and grab attention, with hand-claps, horns and something that sounds suspiciously like a 1983 Casio DG20 electric guitar, set to Electric Mandolin. Opener ‘Halfway Home’, single ‘Golden Age’ and tracks like ‘Dancing Choose’ grab you with electronic and guitar parts blended in a way I think Bloc Party might be trying to achieve, while ‘Red Dress’ is unashamedly funky. What TV On The Radio do on this album, to an even greater extent than they did on Return To Cookie Mountain and earlier, is blur genre boundaries, with the funky elements, the rap elements on ‘DLZ’, oft-disguised guitars throughout, and synths, drums and vocals all put together brilliantly by Dave Sitek’s production skills.

Ending with with ‘Lover’s Day’, Tunde Adebimpe also demonstates that vast variety is present in his lyrics as in the music, with openly sexy lyrics ending an album that has covered death, war, anger, heartbreak and most of the world’s other ills.

As ‘Lover’s Day’ rounds of the album with jazzy sax and horms, choral vocals and marching snares, I reflect on another triumph for TVOTR, and I can see this album being featured in even more “album of the year” debates than its predecessor.

You can, and should, buy Dear Science from here (UK) or here (US Deluxe Edition) if you don’t already have it.

MP3: TV On The Radio – Golden Age

MP3: TV On The Radio – Dancing Choose


One Comment

  1. having been the only person in the world not enamored by cookie mountain, it was nice to see tv on the radio return to form here

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