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Dear Science,
TV on the Radio
Dear Science,
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

DELUXE EDITION Dear Science, Tunde Adebimpe - Vocals Kyp Malone - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Synths David Andrew Sitek - Programming, Guitars, Samples, Bass, Synths Gerard A Smith - Bass, Organ, Synths, Samples, Rhodes Jalee...  more »

     
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CD Details

All Artists: TV on the Radio
Title: Dear Science,
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: DGC/Interscope
Original Release Date: 1/1/2008
Re-Release Date: 9/23/2008
Album Type: Deluxe Edition
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, Experimental Music
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 602517840508

Synopsis

Album Description
DELUXE EDITION Dear Science, Tunde Adebimpe - Vocals Kyp Malone - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Synths David Andrew Sitek - Programming, Guitars, Samples, Bass, Synths Gerard A Smith - Bass, Organ, Synths, Samples, Rhodes Jaleel Bunton - Drums, Guitars, Rhodes, Organ, Synths, Bass, Programming "A lot of bands have something to say," explains TV On The Radio producer/multi-instrumentalist David Sitek. "We have something to ask." Indeed. Good luck finding easy answers in TVOTR's ever-evolving soundscapes, though, whether we're talking about their new disc, Dear Science (DGC/Interscope) or the band's early days. When guitarist/vocalist Kyp Malone joined, he didn't even get what Sitek and vocalist Tunde Adebimpe were going for on their self-released 2002 debut, OK Calculator. "Aspects of OK Calculator are genius," says Malone, "but it isn't as laser-focused as Young Liars." Neither were Adebimpe and Sitek's early live sets, boundless and brash bits of performance art that Malone remembers as "an open mic/karaoke night gone awry. I could hear songs peeking through it all but it wasn't really my thing." Boy did that change in 2003, as Young Liars became Malone's favorite CD-R (he'd often play it for the latte sippers at a local coffee shop) and the group's first Touch & Go release. An immediate favorite among critics, the EP nailed Sitek's goal of sounding like a "grand four-track thing," from the epic, evocative balladry of "Blind" to the spectral pop trails of "Staring At the Sun." To make things even more interesting, Malone dropped his skepticism and joined the group full-time before Young Liars' official release, with drummer Jaleel Bunton and bassist Gerard Smith rounding out the band's rhythm section soon after. "We had a gig in Iceland where we needed a full band so we asked the two best guitar players we knew, Gerard and Jaleel, to play drums and bass," explains Sitek, laughing. "It's absurd that Kyp and I are even holding a guitar when Jaleel and Gerard are fucking bananas at playing it." While that may be true, TV On The Radio's loose approach to songwriting, recording and performing leaves an incredible amount of room for instrument-swapping and role reversals. Rather than rely on a stringent and stale guitars/bass/drums/vocals setup, the quintet often brings home-demoed sketches to the studio along with the attitude that a track needs to go through everyone's filter before it becomes a fully formed song. "Music is the most flexible medium in the world for me," explains Sitek, the beat conductor responsible for distilling the band's tracks down to a living, breathing composition that's never cloying or cumbersome. "There is no shortage of ideas; the hard part is not following each whim." As much as he tries to keep a record sounding lean, Sitek is quick to admit, "It takes most bands an album to get to a high track count. I can go from 4 to 96 in a day, without question. I'm track hungry, really. A lot of stuff isn't even an instrument." The densest a TVOTR disc ever got was their third LP, 2006's Return to Cookie Mountain, a collection of songs you need to scale with hi-def headphones to truly appreciate. Sitek went a little lighter on the multi-tracking with this Dear Science, but not by much. The album's opener, "Halfway Home," is vintage TVOTR, for instance--a rich, speaker-swallowing canvas of careening beats, buzzing riffs (or are those synths?) and bloodletting vocals. Things get strange from that point on, however, as mirror balls spin (a dare-we-say-danceable "Crying," the helicopter hook of "Golden Age") and Adebimpe attacks "Dancing Choose" like a mic-wielding battle rapper. And then there are the glimmers of drum & bass ("Shout Me Out"), drunken horn sections ("Red Dress," one of several songs to feature members of Antibalas), and carefully-plucked film score strings ("Stork & Owl") that spice up what's clearly TVOTR's most challenging effort yet. Not challenging in the sense of being a rough listen--challenging in terms of rewriting the group's supposed gloomy, stormy aesthetics. "You know how people always say that comedians are some of the saddest people in the world?" asks Adebimpe. "Well, the opposite is true, too. As heavy as some of the songs get, the joking around that goes around between the five of us gets out of control sometimes." "If people are listening to us because we're dark and brooding, great," adds Sitek, "But I think there's a greater percentage looking for us to do something different with every album. Some of the darkest songs on Dear Science are the more upbeat ones. Like 'Crying' is f**king heavy, dude." If you' still toss on such beautifully-damaged tracks as "Dreams" and "Ambulance" when times get tough, don't worry--TV On The Radio still goes for the jugular in the melancholic and moody department. In fact, some of Dear Science sounds downright menacing. Take "DLZ": a fang-baring "f**k you" to the idea of death being "your last chance to do anything" according to Adebimpe, it's some of most frightening, and affecting, music in the TVOTR canon. "Stork & Owl" is much more muted in its mix of skittering beats, wilting strings and gorgeous, multi-tracked harmonies but good luck putting on a happy face after succumbing to its postmodern soul soundtrack. "It's like Bukowski once said, 'I write all of this stuff to get away from it,'" explains Adebimpe, who struggled with the deaths of a friend and family member during the making of Dear Science. "Writing is a meditation, an exercise to put away all these painful things.'" And that's ultimately what TV On The Radio still hopes to do with its music--they're still looking to connect, to make people feel something, anything no matter how up or down a song's arrangement is. "I grew up listening to Joy Division, New Order, Echo & the Bunnymen, the Cure, the Smiths and the Swans," says Malone. "Some of that qualifies as 'goth' but it didn't make me depressed to listen to that music despite what my parents assumed. It didn't add to my 'angst' as a teenager. I simply identitfied with something in the music. "It made me feel less alone, you know?" he continues. "If I could be that for someone else, that would make me happy. It'd be a real form of success for me."

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CD Reviews

What good music is all about.
Dingleberry | NM | 11/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There was something about 'Return To Cookie Mountain' that intrigued me and I tried repeatedly to get into that record. Ultimately, I came away liking only a couple of the songs but also with great respect for the band's creativity. It was an unusual combination of feelings.

For me, 'Dear Science' resolves that conflict. There is no sacrifice in imagination or creativity and the songs have a more accessible style which peaks in track two, 'Crying'. However, there is no lack of dark sentiment here, both musically and lyrically. In particular, 'Halfway Home' and 'Family Tree' two of the record's highlights, generate a feeling of weird dread and disturbance due to the ideas and pictures they suggest but never fully reveal.

While all the lyrics are interesting and fit very well with the music, vocalist Tunde Adebimpe's lyrics are are nothing short of poetry. His narrative sketches are, at times, almost hypnotic.

Guitarist David Sitek's production is noticeable for the intelligent balance it strikes between the Jaleel Bunton's multi-level drumming styles and nice touches of horns here and there amongst the synths and vocals.

As for the deluxe edition? There are actually sixteen tracks, with track twelve being exactly four minutes of silence. The four extra tracks are worth the extra cash. 'Make Love All Night Long' is a good song but not quite as good as the album tracks. 'Heroic Dose' clocks in at about seven minutes and has a spoken french vocal over electronics and horns - also pretty good. 'Dancing Choose' is the only song I don't like on the record and so the remix leaves me cold too. The remix of 'Crying' is a little longer than the original at 4.29 and stays faithful to the original version with the addition of extra synths and some cutting and pasting of the vocals.

Album of the year? Well, what does that mean anyway? That said, for me, 'Dear Science' is one of the top three records of the year, along with 'Consolers Of The Lonely' by The Raconteurs and 'The Seldom Seen Kid' by Elbow."
Serious fun
Howlinw | California, USA | 11/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I'll admit right away to feeling a little out of my depth as I sit down to write this review. I'm a latecomer to the whole TVOTR thing. I don't currently own a copy of Return To Cookie Mountain (soon to be corrected, however), despite its apparent esteemed status in the post-2000 indie canon. I'm in my 30s and am feeling increasingly distanced from the plethora of new indie bands that appear on the scene every year. Maybe that's not a bad thing, maybe it's inevitable, but I guess I am just having a harder time separating the wheat from the chaff. I'll admit to having bought this CD on a whim, largely because it's a step outside what I typically listen to and I am trying to branch out some more. All that to say, this is not the review of someone who is intimately familiar with the band's prior recorded output.

I believe that this band is in the same general age category as myself (I recall reading that somewhere, at least) and that doesn't surprise me when I hear this CD. I recall reading in the same article that the band member being interviewed referenced the Cure and other 80s alt-rock bands as touchstones in his musical development. I hear a lot of that here and I like it, since that is the music I listened to back in high school as well. But the key is, this band doesn't just stop there. I hear Prince influences, the Antibalas horn section, and a lot of digital sounds in the mix too. Yes it does seem very produced but for some reason this doesn't bother me that much because there is so much else to pay attention to. Then there's the matter of the lyrics. In "Red Dress," probably the emotional core of this album, Adebimpe lays it all on the table - I urge anyone considering whether or not to buy this album to look up these lyrics online and read them. They are pure poetry, plain and simple, describing with empathy and sympathy the confusion of the world we live in. Other songs on this album are well-written too but none rise to quite these heights.

I see a lot of criticism for this album on here and I can see where some of it is coming from. At its worst, there are places where the album sags under the weight of the production, and the darkness of some of the lyrics does not mesh with the dance beats. For me though, when it comes together on songs like the aforementioned "Red Dress," it really works. The band obviously has the ability to write great songs, and perhaps it would be to their benefit not to bury this quite so much in production. However this is small stuff. I really enjoy this disc on multiple levels and am ready for more from this band. Time to order Cookie Mountain."
Get Deluxe version instead
Mark Colan | Medford, MA USA | 09/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If you are downloading the MP3 album as a whole, pay an additional 50 cents and download the Deluxe version instead. It has four more tracks."