Rhythm & Views

TV on the Radio

As difficult as it is to categorize the music of TV on the Radio, it can be exciting and rewarding to discover the band's unique sound and myriad influences.

Formed in 2001, this five-man outfit out of Brooklyn reaped a tsunami of critical kudos after its 2006 release, Return to Cookie Mountain.

Labeled as post-punk revival or art-house funk, TV on the Radio's music is highlighted by dense soundscapes on layers of jagged guitar and synthesizers, underpinned by infectiously popping Afro-beats. Though relentlessly ambitious and to some degree cacophonous, the songs are soulful, melodic and often expertly crafted.

Several cuts, such as the opener, "Halfway Home," nimbly shift and build in surprising and yet sonically logical ways, revealing something new upon every listen. What initially may come off as the "kitchen sink" approach to production often proves to be a perfect and indispensable accoutrement to the finished product.

Whereas Cookie was a tad raw and more experimental, Science feels seasoned and matured. Still, there's hardly what one would mark as the "hit single" on the disc, though the joyously optimistic "Golden Age" and the exquisite ballad "Family Tree" are accessible and pretty.

The group holds true to its pointed and passionate political manifesto in songs like "Red Dress." Although they are dead-serious about their progressive ideals, the band's saving grace is that they never take themselves too seriously.

Stimulating, fun, intelligent and tuneful, Dear Science is another delightful step forward for TVOTR, a relatively new band whose time in the spotlight has come.