Album of the week: Seeds, by TV On The Radio
TV on the Radio
TV on the Radio's fifth studio album has only a trickle of the haunting, stunning beauty that made their third work, Dear Science, among the best of the decade.
Seeds is a cheerier album ("I'm a happy idiot," Tunde Adebimpe sings) that melds their complicated, sonorous melodies with a new jangly accessibility but even that small trickle is enough to herald Seeds as a welcome addition to the canon.
In 2011, TVOTR's bassist, Gerard Smith, died from lung cancer. The joyous optimism that infuses and illuminates Seeds no doubt springs from the band's three-year battle with grief.
But the album isn't ostensibly about death - it's about love. On Careful You, Adebimpe sings, "Oui, je t'aime, from the cradle to the grave/You've done a number on my heart, and things will never be the same." Later he sings, "We learn the secret of a kiss/And how it melts away all pain."
I was constantly reminded of the Rumi quote: "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." In Could You, Adebimpe sings, "Could you love somebody/Could you strip the ego bare and let love take flight?" It's a beautiful, worthy sentiment.
TVOTR write about the joys and pains of love in evocative language that never rings cliché. Although the band have shifted towards pop, their experimental infrastructure is still here. Hardcore fans may be disappointed, accusing TVOTR of exchanging creativity for catchiness, but there is real beauty here.