TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
Few things are harder to put across in rock 'n' roll, the music of one-eyed cats peeping in seafood stores, than romance; add a commitment to guttural body music and you have one of the most restless bands of our time, Brooklyn's TV on the Radio, with an overflowing plate. Despite the reports of Nine Types of Light, their fourth LP, gently mellowing out the genre-melting art rockers, a careful listen reveals their riskiest work to date.
The entire first half sustains a tricky balance of seduction, intricate beats and sincere beauty, with dabbling in the far end of coy new wave. The emotional cycle is Prince-level magic — yearning David Byrne ("Appetites and impulses confuse me") on "Second Song" into wailing confusion on "Keep Your Heart," ecstatic worldbeat on "You" into vaguely angry B-52's dance calls on "No Future Shock," finally surrendering to the climactic "Killer Crane," a lush callback to the Beach Boys' "Cabinessence." Alas, there's a tipping point and the momentum is finally lost, but with side two still offering classic — if familiar — TV on the Radio, it's a small price of admission for such excitement.