TV On The Radio: ‘Seeds’

TV On The Radio: ‘Seeds’

Louise MacGregorFriday,12 December 2014

The Snap:

Well, TV On The Radio have thoroughly disproved the notion that thirteen is an unlucky number. Reaching their thirteenth birthday this year, the group have returned with their fifth album, Seeds. After a three-year break following the release of Nine Types of Light, they’ve refined their stridently unique sound even further with this 12-track epic.

The Download:

One of the things that I really like about Seeds is how long the music is given to breathe. The fade-outs are long and luxurious, the lead-ins are languorous. Recorded in a personal studio, it’s clear that this album has been given real time to gestate. In my eyes, there’s not enough importance placed on creating an actual album — that is, a collection of songs that sit beautifully alongside each other as well as producing a few choice singles that work out of context. Seeds is the perfect example of that; it’s a timely reminder that soundbite electronica isn’t necessarily the way to go. The band themselves believe that this is their best album, and it’s hard to disagree.

Take the second track, “Careful You,” which might well have been hewn out of a fever dream. There’s something almost a little discomforting, but in a really good way, about the purring synths matched with staccato counterpoint melodies. Then you’ve got the comparative high-kick of the next track, “Could You,” with waterfalls of guitar and a modern Stone Roses-sound that lulls you into a false sense of easy pop. Follow that up with “Ride,” by far my favourite song on the album. It’s a big, dramatic ballad that never quite overshoots its ambition, building on those soft, cinematic opening piano chords into a magnificent six-minute symphony.

If I had to pick a real standout element from this album, it’s probably Tunde Adepimbe. He’s wearing his post-punk influences firmly on his sleeves here, swinging between the washed-out, sepia-toned sounds of the first few tracks and dexterity of later tracks like “Right Now.” If you’re going to sell an album with this much ambition, this mess of styles, you’ve got to have something good to hold it all together. Tunde Adepimbe is that good thing. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty more going on to this album; it’s far more than just a singular showcase of talent, proving it’s musical prowess with the rock-and-roll fuzz of Winter and the mastery of simple synth additions.

Really, the question you’re looking to have answered here is this one: is Seeds worth listening to? And the simple answer to that question is “Oh God, yes.” This is a band so far and firmly entrenched in their career that they don’t have very much left to prove, so they’ve stopped trying to prove anything. This album is a rich, beautifully produced Exhibit A in why bands don’t need to keep expanding on their sound when stripping it back would make it so much better. I struggled hard to find a bad song on this album and, sure, while some of them wouldn’t make the best singles, every track has a place here. And that alone deserves a salute. Seeds is part-breathless rock, part-electronic exploration, and it’s a thing of real beauty.

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Hat Tips:

Rolling Stone, Image Credit: Flickr

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