TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light (album review)

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By David Colburn

Staff Writer

One can craft a great argument with all of the logic in the world, but more people will be swayed by the rhythm of their heart in the end. TV on the Radio do not take the concept lightly, their work has always been infused with soulful sound and delicate strains of emotion that lie outside the vast ring of basic description. Nine Types of Light carries on a grand aural legacy with an often calm and composed step.

What else can one say about TV on the Radio’s latest album? Consider Dear Science and Return to Cookie Mountain. The band’s sonic style has been firmly established. All of the funk-clad darkness and falsetto-fledged tranquility that defined both of those works make their shameless returns on Nine Types of Light. In a way, it is almost disappointing; the quality is great, the experience is engaging from beginning to end, but no specific track truly “sticks out.”

TV on the Radio possess a great power, without a doubt. As with previous albums, the production is crisp, articulate and infectious. Melodies compliment the strong foundation like gorgeous decorative designs on a newly-constructed house. Songs shift and roll in a rhythmic cycle of snappy infectiousness and thoughtful reflection as the band performs with both a confidence that’s difficult to deride.

As great as it can be, the monumental musical climax of “Repetition”, the sweetly resounding distortion of “Caffeinated Consciousness, and the intoxicated spin of “Will Do,” the listener is always reminded of the past. Nine Types of Light is good, if not great, TV on the Radio can be even greater. One pines for a stronger sting throughout the experience; an odder twist, a more jarring turn, some unprecedented sonic surprise to shatter through the safety and warmth of the cycle. Without that extra element, the listening experience ultimately fades with time.

People will be swayed by the rhythm of their hearts and Nine Types of Light will craft an emotional appeal almost effortlessly, memories, however, are held within the mind and the listener may return to the unique challenges of TV on the Radio’s older works.