TV on the Radio

When TV on the Radio dropped its 2003 EP Young Liars, music magazine junkies witnessed a pause in the incessant splurge of cool tagging. Here was a band, from Brooklyn no less, that sidesteps this decade's music/fashion death-race with a calm, thoughtful maturity that manifests itself equally well in ink and on record.

The same praise that covered Young Liars is already sticking to Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes like honey, an unexpected delivery of carnations for occasions of love and death. Its opener, "The Wrong Way," simmers with pounding thuds of static and alto sax before Tunde Adebimpe awakens abruptly in a Bamboozled-like realization: "The bling drips down/Fallin' down just like rain," and the youth are armed and figuratively blind. The brilliant "Staring at the Sun," taken from Young Liars, follows with its itsy electro stutter and sober-sharp falsetto; the album's most upbeat number, it leads into seven tracks of opiate-fused, genre transcendence -- a Roger Waters-esque sofa trip. Although TVOTR loads the album down with layers of electronic and traditional instrumentation, making for an unclassifiable sound that's intricate and broad, maybe even a little accidental, it wisely takes the time to explore this mysterious place of epic greatness more and more listeners will find it in.

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Hunter Stephenson