Album review: TV on the Radio - Seeds

If Seeds is a love letter to their fallen comrade, then it is courageous, moving and a more than fitting epitaph from one of the world’s most consistently inventive bands.

Seeds

TV on the Radio

Harvest

Four stars

It’s been a chastening few years for the Brooklyn indie-rock experimentalists TV on the Radio, after the death of their bassist, Gerard Smith, a week after the release of their 2011 album Nine Types of Light.

Since then, they’ve been almost entirely dormant. So you might expect this comeback, their fifth LP, to be a maudlin affair – yet it isn’t.

There’s a touch of the tears of a clown about Happy Idiot, which seems to elliptically reference the numbing that followed Smith’s passing. Winter is a more straightforward reference to “a union in the afterglow”; the fuzzed-up Lazerray bravely faces the fact that “nothing living lasts forever”. Test Pilot, meanwhile, is mesmerising in the same way that The Flaming Lips have often made explorative science a metaphor for wonder. And like those pioneers, while TVOTR don’t always find the cure, to hear them perform without a safety net is rarely less than a pleasure. If Seeds is a love letter to their fallen comrade, then it is courageous, moving and a more than fitting epitaph from one of the world’s most consistently inventive bands.

aworkman@thenational.ae

Published: December 8, 2014 04:00 AM

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