For TV On The Radio’s sixth album they decided to go for a somewhat different approach to their sound. Their music which is normally filled to the brim with left hooks and surprises has been traded for an album that’s essentially ‘TVOTR makes a pop album!’. ‘What’s wrong with that?’ You may ask. Well, the problem is that is that they don’t particularly do it all that well. They’ve gone for a slightly more electronic sound but forgot to pack any punches as the synths never really stand out or sound exciting. At least I think they are because there extremely hard to make out a lot of the time because the vocals have been pushed so much further forward in the mixing than normal that any interesting instrumentation may be completely lost. It’s not like the vocals are needing to be pushed forward either as they serve little-to-no purpose like the track ‘Love Stained’ which has one of the weakest melodies on the entire album.
Even on the latter half of the album where things get more interesting when they decide to trade the electronic sounds for grumbly guitars like the track ‘Lazerray’ they still suffer from sounding rather tame and being unable to really get into it. There are flashes of brilliance here and there though (As it IS TVOTR, it’s never going to be complete rubbish) like the track ‘Winter’, which has you waiting in suspense for the drums to come in on the track for about a third of the song. With too many moments that sound like they were uncomfortable while performing their own material the negatives do unfortunately outweigh the positives on the album though. This album feels much like a failed experiment, or maybe an idea that’s not quite fully formed yet; maybe once it’s fully formed the result may be wonderful who knows.