Friday, May 28, 2004

Here's a more thought-out review of TV on the Radio:

New York trio TV on the Radio is the kind of band that leaves reviewers scratching their heads. Their sound is fresh, and the songs are catchy, but they absolutely refuse to be pigeonholed. That forces us to describe them by throwing together a bunch of other bands, you know, like “Peter Gabriel meets Art of Noise, meets Sonic Youth all standing on a corner singing Doo Wop with Mahalia Jackson.

There’s no denying that singer Tunde Adebimpe sounds a lot like Peter Gabriel. Judging from some of the pretentious lyrics on the band’s mesmerizing debut CD, “Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes,” he thinks he can write like him too. But, regardless of what he’s singing, his voice has a bluesy, earthy quality that contrasts perfectly with the band’s otherworldly, swirling melodies and syncopated beats. On the CD’s best track, “Staring at the Sun,” Adebimpe and guest vocalist Katrina Ford wail like two choir members who are really feeling the spirit. Underneath is a clanging mass of electronic beats and handclaps, throbbing bass and ringing guitars. Other songs, like the opening track, “The Wrong Way,” and “Don’t Love You” follow the same formula, sounding like selections from some futuristic hymnal. Perhaps that’s the key for those of us who still want to fit them into a niche. It’s gospel, but from a Bizarro world.

To see and hear for yourself, go here to see the video for “Staring at the Sun.”

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