TV on the Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:2004-06-07

The debut album from TV on the Radio, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes singles this multi-racial Brooklyn trio out as a markedly different band from many of their new-wave New York peers. Where Yeah Yeah Yeahs are earthy and sexy, TV are synthetic, hypnotic and aloof; where The Rapture are passionate and almost aggressively funky, vocalist Tunde Adebimpe, guitarist Kyp Malone and all-rounder David Andrew Sitek present their music with a kind of cold removal that, for all its stuttering beatbox rhythms and saxophone bursts, is never exactly danceable. Indeed, the primary hook here is Adebimpe's remarkable voice: a sweet soul falsetto that recalls no-one else more than Peter Gabriel. Accordingly, the album's best track, "Staring at the Sun", is little more than a kaleidoscope of voices drifting in and out of focus--although rock trivia fans will doubtless be interested to know that distant psychedelic squall comes courtesy of Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner. It's a formula that can't quite hold firm for the whole 47 minutes, but at its best, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes moulds indie-rock into something fresh, clever and innovative. --Louis Pattison

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