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TV on the Radio: Seeds [Slipcase] *

Track List

>Careful You
>Could You
>Happy Idiot
>Test Pilot
>Love Stained
>Right Now

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[The] emotional swings, from song to song, lyric to lyric, are nothing new for the Brooklyn quartet. But they have an extra resonance on the band's first LP since losing bassist Gerard Smith to cancer in 2011."

Spin - "The rueful 'Quartz,' its endless loops freer, more spacious than anything previous, twinkles and claps like Swedish indie-pop..."

Entertainment Weekly - "TVOTR clearly love to tinker with synths, samples, and percussion, but unlike other groups who spelunk through sonic architecture, they're still concerned with making pretty songs that service the head and the heart." -- Grade: A-

Magnet - "'Happy Idiot' and 'Careful You' are focused and fuzzy at the same time. Of this, Smith would be proud."

CMJ - "The album churns away on a mid-tempo path throughout, ethereal harmonies skimming past and back to Adebimpe's yearning lead vocals being the main thread through it."

Billboard - 4 stars out of 5 -- "TVOTR manages to grow from the guarded optimism of its gruff early albums to full-on hopefulness."

Paste (magazine) - "[SEEDS is] the band's most optimistic and beautiful effort. SEEDS is 12 tracks of pure love, with Adebimpe, Sitek, Kyp Malone and Jaleel Bunton pushing out positivity of Ram Dassian proportions."

Clash (magazine) - "SEEDS isn't dwelling in the sadness of the past, then, but pointing the way towards the next phase of this band's evolution....A welcome indication that they still absolutely mean business."

Album Notes

Personnel: Kyp Malone (vocals, guitars); Tunde Adebimpe (vocals, loops); Jaleel Bunton (guitars, keyboards, drums, percussion); David Andrew Sitek (guitars, keyboards, percussion, sampler).

Audio Mixers: David Andrew Sitek; Matty Green.

Recording information: Federal Prism, Los Angeles, CA.

Arriving three years after the mellow Nine Types of Light -- and the death of bassist Gerard Smith, who succumbed to lung cancer just days after the album's release -- Seeds has a palpable sense of moving on for TV on the Radio. Sonically, it's crisper and clearer than ever before; songs like the beautiful ballad "Test Pilot" use this clarity to prove, once again, that TV on the Radio fuse indie and R&B more genuinely than many of the acts that sprang up during their hiatus. Though they rein in their trademark lushness ever so slightly, it doesn't diminish their sound's magnitude; instead, it adds an urgency that feels even more pointed after Nine Types' hazy reveries. Similarly, that album's philosophical tone continues on Seeds, with the band confronting loss directly on the album's first half and accepting it on the second. TV on the Radio are often at their most compelling when they're grappling with something, and album opener "Quartz" -- on which Tunde Adebimpe asks "How hard must we try?" -- showcases them in all their frustrated glory. Likewise, that songs as emotionally opposed as "Could You," where Kyp Malone wonders about being able to love again, and "Happy Idiot," where Adebimpe willfully numbs himself to the pain, are both triumphs is another testament to the band's complexity. Seeds' first half is so strong that it's not surprising that it sags by comparison a little later. To be fair, it's harder to write uplifting and empowering songs that don't sound trite, and TV on the Radio manage more than a few: the anthemic "Ride," the fired-up "Winter," and the furious rocker "Lazerray" all deliver far more than platitudes. Just when it feels like things might be too relentlessly positive, the band injects some welcome ambiguity into "Trouble"'s refrain of "Everything's gonna be OK," letting it teeter between reassurance and uncertainty. By the time the title track closes the album with the promise of rebirth, TV on the Radio's reinvention as survivors is complete. At its best, Seeds is a fine tribute to Smith and the sound of enduring unimaginable loss. ~ Heather Phares


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