New York-based TV On The Radio might not quite be household names themselves, but they’re critical darlings, have been endorsed by David Bowie and their resident producer Dave Sitek has worked with the likes of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, David Byrne and Scarlet Johansson. Nine Types Of Light is their fourth studio album.
Nine Types Of Light is TV On The Radio’s most mature and refined sounding album to date. While their previous releases to date have mapped a slow progression from their earliest sample-based recordings into art-rock, post-punk and dance influenced territory, this fourth album sees them refine all these influences into a more sedate-sounding, eclectic mix of an album.
In some ways the energy and punch of their previous outing, 2008’s excellent Dear Science, has been lost this time around, but in its place is a newfound sense of warmth and timeless songwriting.
Once again producer Dave Sitek is the star of the show, emphasising the best parts of each song with well arranged horn and string sections while skilfully layering his and fellow guitarist Kyp Malone’s riffs. Yet the versatility of vocalist Tunde Adebimpe is still another of the band’s great trump cards. He’s long been shaping up as one of modern rock’s great vocalists, with the ability to switch from dark crooner to a James Brown-esque funk focal point at the drop of a hat.
This may sound a little like TV On The Radio losing the urgency of youth and moving towards middle age, but with songs like fantastic opener Second Song, lead single Will Do and the brass-driven New Cannonball Blues, it’s hard to find any reason to complain.