Album Review

TV on the Radio, 'Nine Types of Light'

April 11, 2011

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Could be that the breathlessly lauded TV on the Radio is operating on some encrypted frequency that’s beyond mortal ears, but the Brooklyn, N.Y., head-trippers mostly sound asleep at the switch on their fifth album. “Second Song’’ sets the somnolent pace, with a barely focused monologue pulled from a boorish waking dream. It’s not until halfway through where a sexy vocal pass arrives and the band whips into a horn-flaring funk. Where is the taut psychedelic excitement of previous gems such as “Staring at the Sun’’? Or the wiry post-punk fuzz of “Wolf Like Me’’? Or the skewed, choppy funk of “Crying’’? “Keep Your Heart’’ is a morose would-be seduction with a groaning vocal that deliberately conceals the beauty hinted at in the brief choruses. One must wait until “Will Do’’ or “No Future Shock’’ for a memorable melody to break through. “Repetition’’ eventually, mercifully, unleashes a tightly wound guitar blast and a furiously spit vocal, while “Caffeinated Consciousness’’ is artfully jagged. There’s probably a lot to be cherished under the surface of the slower songs, but, honestly, who has the motivation to work for it? (Out tomorrow) LUKE O’NEIL

ESSENTIAL “Repetition’’