Release date: April 12, 2011
Record label: Interscope
Official website: http://www.tvontheradio.com/
The buzz: After their triumphant third album—2008’s “Dear Science,” named the year’s best by a host of media outlets—TV on the Radio took a short break to focus on solo projects (notably Dave Sitek’s Maximum Balloon and Kyp Malone’s Rain Machine). For “Nine Types of Light,” they left their native Brooklyn for Los Angeles, where Sitek now has a studio.
The verdict: Despite their mainstream success, TVOTR have inspired fewer imitators than other indie crossovers—in part because their sonic signature is harder to replicate. “Nine Types of Light” sometimes takes a more straightforward route, delving into such mellow date-night mix-tape territory that some wags have tagged these songs with the dreaded “lite” description. It’s not entirely unwarranted—a couple tracks are atypically listless—but there’s a lot more than that going on. The twitchy gospel of “Second Song” makes for a terrific start, a slow-building stomper with an incendiary, falsetto-powered chorus that proves they aren’t about to abandon the dance floor. Other tracks (“No Future Shock,” “Caffeinated Consciousness”) bring even more energy, but it’s not boom-or-bust; some of the softer songs are just as complex and catchy—and just as uniquely TVOTR.
Did you know? Sadly, the band will be touring “Nine Types of Lights” without bassist Gerard Smith, who passed away from lung cancer shortly after the album's release.