Published Nov 14, 2014TV on the Radio are called many things, but until now a pop act wasn't one of them. Seeds, the band's latest, and first since the passing of bass player Gerard Smith, is the most clear-eyed and anthemic album of their career. It's also the closest thing to pop the group is likely to produce.
Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone's voices are front and centre, soaring through choruses few felt the band were capable of, let alone interested in, writing. The shift is deliberate; reportedly, there was a host of material to choose from and this is the direction in which band members wanted to head. Adebimpe and producer/multi-instrumentalist Dave Sitek even brought in several outside songwriters — including Swedish singer-songwriter Erik Hassle and Flo-Rida collaborator Marcus Killian — to hammer their compositions into shape. Unsurprisingly, Seeds is also TV on the Radio's least experimental record.
On paper, this sounds like a cynical career move, but the group haven't lost their idiosyncratic charm. The songs are less busy than in the past, but in dialling back the noise, Sitek emphasizes the groove — something the band never get enough credit for — and magnifies small details, turning songs like "Could You" into towering, soulful anthems.
Seeds is sublime catharsis after the group's tragic loss and a perfect distillation of what the band do best. It's a rare record that serves as an entry point for newcomers while rewarding old fans who've stuck by them since the beginning. (Harvest)