TV On The Radio * Dear Science

From the opening notes of “Halfway Home” we know that this is a different TVOTR. All of the same elements are there- Tunde Adebimpe’s voice that manages to wail and be soulful at the same time, David Sitek’s noisy production and Jaleel Bunton and Gerard Smith’s tight and ever interesting rhythem section. But they are different, more restrained, more polished.
Every new record, from Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes to Return to Cookie Mountain has felt like an attempt to keep or increase the intensity of their early songs while editing and polishing. Dear Science has maintained the frenetic restlessness of the other albums while giving them a wonderful cohesion and restraint. On “Dancing Choose,” there is a riff played in the chorus with a completely un-distorted guitar; I never thought that I would hear that on a TVOTR record.
The range on the record is pretty impressive. The sound of Return tended to be fairly dark and morose with the exception of “Wolf Like Me,” but Dear Science has everything from the pensive, confessional moans of “Stork and Owl” and “Family Tree” to the danceable, energetic “Golden Age.”
It surprises me how many truly beautiful moments there are on the record: the chorus to “Dancing Choose,” all of “Cryin’,” “DLZ.”
“Golden Age” was released as a single, but for my money, “Cryin’” is the breakout hit of the record. It is an astonishingly good song, and it, dare I say it, has radio potential. If there is a song which will propel this band into the league of those that I can no longer afford to see live, it will be this song.
In short, this is a great album. All 11 songs of the regular release are top-quality and more than a few of them have sparks of genius. Buy it. If you don’t want to buy it, just buy “Cryin.’”

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