TV on the Radio - Seeds

by Nse Ette Rating:9 Release Date:2014-11-17

Seeds is the first album from TV on the Radio since the death of bassist Gerard Smith from lung cancer, and according to Tunde Adebimpe, their best yet. What they unfurl here are unfussy song structures, largely giving up their charm early on, unlike the more complex and meandering path taken on previous albums - and it's not necessarily a bad thing.

The band plays optimistically, with lead singer Tunde Adebimpe singing "Rain comes down like it always does/ This time I've got seeds on ground", on the moody title track, and "Everything's going to be okay I keep telling myself/ don't worry, be happy", on the slowly shuffling 'Trouble', feauting atmospheric strings and soothing harmonies. With that, they declare their intention to forge ahead.

"How much do I love you?" Adebimpe sings urgently, against a wall of cascading "aaahs", gently buzzing synths and trilling guitars on opening track 'Quartz', conjuring a rather reverential feel. Lead single 'Happy Idiot' finds Adebimpe declaring ignorance to be bliss in a relationship, over galloping beats and angular riffs, catchy and anthemic. Slowing things down is the blissful soul of 'Test Pilot', with Adebimpe switching from his regular tenor to falsetto in the blink of an eye, while 'Love Stained' finds him singing in a creamy croon against a gentle, tempo-shifting backdrop.

'Ride' has a solemn, two minute long piano overture before it morphs into a widescreen rocker Springsteen would kill for. 'Right Now' is a twitchy, incredibly catchy dance-rocker. Following this are a pair of punk rock-inflected numbers: 'Winter', which is fuzzy and skeletal and reminds me of R.E.M., while the raucous 'Lazerray' occupies the more frenzied end of the spectrum.
 

This album has a well-rounded sound, and despite the immediacy of the songs, still manages to give up more with each listen. A welcome and inventive return from a place of pain and loss.

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