TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light
After the release of their widely acclaimed album Dear Science (2008), TV On The Radio singer Tunde Adebimpe announced that the band would go on a year long hiatus before returning to the studio. With several members announcing solo or side projects in the following year it became obvious that it would be well over a year before the band would have time to work on new material.
Guitarist Kyp Malone released a self-titled solo album under the name Rain Machine and multi-instrumentalist Dave Sitek released a feature filled electro-pop production experiment as Maximum Balloon, as well as producing albums for Holly Miranda and Daniel Higgs. Despite prolific individual offerings during this time, fans were more than ready for the band’s return when Nine Types Of Light was announced in February 2011.
I imagine any grudges held against the group for their elongated hiatus will be dropped immediately upon hearing Nine Types Of Light. Despite, and perhaps because of their time off, TVOTR returned sounding refreshed and more like an actual band than ever. Where as previous albums sounded were stylistically experimental and each track sounded like it could be from a different artist, Nine Types Of Light finally finds a balance between the band members’ many talents and styles
From the first song – strangely titled “Second Song” – onward, TVOTR make up for a lack of energy with a focused, cohesive sound. Nine Types Of Light makes good use of the array of instruments and styles that TVOTR specialize in. Funky basslines, shuffling drums, and Adebimpe’s emotional voice come together perfectly on albums highlights “You” and “Killer Crane”. With lyrics like, “I just thought you might like to know / You’re the only one I ever loved” in “You”, Adebimpe sings more deeply about love and romance than on previous releases. The chorus of “Killer Crane” is one of the most beautiful melodies TVOTR has ever written and it feels even more sweet after a two-and-a-half minute build up.
While the consistent quality on Nine Types Of Light is undoubtably impressive, it is hard to ignore the lack of a song as infectious or catchy as “Wolf Like Me” or “Staring At The Sun”. More importantly, however, Nine Types Of Light proves that four albums in to their career TVOTR are still in their stride and have a few more solid releases ahead of them before they start to fall off.
R.I.P. TV On The Radio bassist Gerard Smith who died of lung cancer on April 20, 2011.