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ALBUM – Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes

ARTIST – TV On The Radio

YEAR – 2004

They used to say, repeatedly, that America was a “Melting Pot”.  Hmmm.  OK.  So, I guess, in a sense, this group of musicians fits the category.  There is just so much going on here that makes it impossible to classify or label this band.  Rock, indie, electro, jazz.  None of the Above.  And that’s basically the reason for me to reccomend TV On The Radio.

I find it necessary for us music lovers to give this a try.  It is completely new, unclassifiable.  It doesn’t seem to follow any trend or specific tendency in contemporary music, and that’s why it’s so great.  I really enjoy this album.  I didn’t at first, I’ll admit.  I though it was weird and crazy and all over the place.  This was a while back, I think 2 years ago, when I first got my hands on it.  The inability to appreciate it after the first listen was nagging me, so I came back for a second and third serving.  After a while – and still today – I’m baffled by what it brings to the table.

It sounds like what my friend said about the movie BRAZIL, “there’s so much to contemplate onscreen – in every frame – that it becomes difficult to follow”.  This is what the band makes me feel, musically speaking.  Every time I put this record on I discover a new influence or reference.  It’s frustrating at first, cause you want to put a name to a face, but I guess that’s part of the fun.  Figuring out where the pieces fit is all part of the process.  Then, you can fully appreciate the band’s efforts.

They come at you from all over the place; it’s like a drive-by, you can’t quite figure out what’s going on.  Then it hits you, and you start to realise a whole bunch of artists these guys were influenced by and how they take that influence to produce quality contemporary music.  I dare anybody to find anything as rich and as new as this.

Tracks.  I’ll start off with my favourite.  Very objective and subtle, but full of subliminal references is “Ambulance”.  It sounds like those songs from the 50s, with male vocals, maybe even a choir or something you would hear before entering a church where gospel music is being chanted.  That’s the kind of range TVOTR brings to the table.  They are a bit underestimated, I think, for their musical knowledge and expertise, but overestimated in mainstream, pop culture bandwagon media.  Too bad.  “Staring at the Sun” has a pretty cool video.  I like the song better.  Sends me forward, to something in the future, a Kubrickesque future, cold and sterile.  Drum kits, horns, guitars, synthesisers, vocals, stereo.  Shit, there’s a lot to contemplate.  And, speaking of horns, the first track “The Wrong Way” sounds like a fire alarm, or just fire.  Yeah, I realise it sounds crazy.  The horns seem to call for rescue; then there’s this big, bad, mean and dark bassy sound.  Really cool.  Being a drum-freak, I really enjoy “Poppy” and “Don’t Love You”.  Cut.


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