After nearly three years in the making, Brooklyn-based rockers [lastfm]TV on the Radio[/lastfm] are finally releasing their follow up to the much loved Dear Science. Titled Nine Types of Light, it will be their fourth album. Nine Types of Light finds [lastfm]TV on the Radio[/lastfm] further refining their signature blend of indie rock and experimental electronic music, showing their maturity a bit with a newfound sense of restraint.
In the interim between Dear Science and Nine Types of Light the band members worked on a variety of side projects – Tunde Adebimpe acted in the movie “Rachel Getting Married”, Kyp Malone played in the band [lastfm]Rain Machine[/lastfm], Dave Sitek moved to Los Angeles and started the band [lastfm]Maximum Balloon[/lastfm]. Nine Types of Light was recorded in Sitek’s new studio in Los Angeles, and the change in setting manifests itself in a set of songs that are decidedly sunnier than past [lastfm]TV on the Radio[/lastfm] offerings.
These songs are “sunnier” both in their sound, which has more of a pop bent than their past work, and in the lyrics, which are more optimistic towards the well-tread subjects of love and relationships than in the past. This, however, is not to generalize, because there is in fact a good amount of variety on this album – their satirical wit is still strong with lines like “Beverly Hills/ nuclear winter/ what should we wear/ and who’s for dinner?” and on songs like “Caffeinated Consciousness” they show they can still rock hard.
Though as a whole it’s more laid back than their past work, there are a lot of different musical styles offered on Nine Types of Light. “Second Song” builds from a nearly a cappella opening to a powerful indie-rock/ soul jam. The horn section is featured more prominently on this album than any other [lastfm]TV on the Radio[/lastfm] album and it’s a nice counterpoint to the electronic stuff.
The band’s use of studio effects continues to be a strong point – the instruments on these songs sound cool. On songs like “You” the distorted buzz of the guitars and multi-layer synths come together in a sort of 21st century [lastfm]Phil Spektor[/lastfm] “Wall of Sound”.
Nine Types of Light lacks a bit of the wildness that [lastfm]TV on the Radio[/lastfm] had when they started out, but they have grown tremendously in other regards – this is the sound of a bad maturing and pushing themselves in new directions. On “Killer Crane,” a beautiful song that is probably the closest thing to a ballad that the band has written, Tunde Adebimpe sums up [lastfm]TV on the Radio[/lastfm]‘s move to California when he sings “In isolation/ A transformation.” People spend a lot of time worrying about musicians losing their edge as they get older, but change isn’t a bad thing when the music still sounds good.
Check out the video for “Will Do” below:
And, just for kicks, a classic: