“Hey, remember when hearing that TV On The Radio had a new album coming out sparked such a feeling of excitement in your bowels that it sent you rushing to the john in a fit of ecstasy?!”
No..me neither…mainly because its been quite a while since they have possessed such an uncontrollable command over my faculties. It’s unfortunate, really, because there was a ton of simmering potential not that long ago. Here, with new album SEEDS, the bands appears to be set on producing more laid back tracks – which would be great, if they were any good.
Truth be told, unless you are a hardcore fan of this band, a majority of this album will not engage you at all. The singles chosen to represent this album, “Happy Idiot” and “Careful You”, are just not attention grabbing. The latter sounds promising at first but ultimately flatlines, while “Happy Idiot” starts with a danceable vibe but the vocals are dead on arrival.
“Could You” is a blinding bright spot in this sea of murk. Even with the vocals, the horns and beat are enough to brighten up the mood just a tad.
Whereas other tracks that attempt to generate some sort of ‘oomph’ like “Love Stained” or “Lazarray” ultimately suffer the same fate as Wyle E. Coyote – they fall right off a cliff in a puff of smoke.
To be fair, many lyrics on these tracks appear to reflect on the passing of band member Gerard Smith and explains the melancholy sound such as on “Careful You”:
“I know it’s best to say goodbye,
But I can’t seem to move away”
That grief and introspection, however, were injected into an album fraught with too many ‘EHH’ moments, which really pains me to say, since I look forward to hearing any new TVOTR release.
The overall feel of this album, in one word, is MONOTONE. Perhaps I need more time to digest this release, but there is little here to inspire me to hit play again. Things just seem too gloomy…damn, even The Twilight Sad had more pep in their step on their very dreary new release.
Maybe TV on the Radio are content with their current work but I cannot shake the feeling that this is the sound of a band stuck on cruise control.