TV On The Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes - Review
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critics' view

The debut album from TV on the Radio, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes singles this multi-racial Brooklyn trio out as a markedly different band from many of their new-wave New York peers. Where Yeah Yeah Yeahs are earthy and sexy, TV are synthetic, hypnotic and aloof; where The Rapture are passionate and almost aggressively funky, vocalist Tunde Adebimpe, guitarist Kyp Malone and all-rounder David Andrew Sitek present their music with a kind of cold removal that, for all its stuttering beatbox rhythms and saxophone bursts, is never exactly danceable. Indeed, the primary hook here is Adebimpe's remarkable voice: a sweet soul falsetto that recalls no-one else more than Peter Gabriel. Accordingly, the album's best track, "Staring at the Sun", is little more than a kaleidoscope of voices drifting in and out of focus—although rock trivia fans will doubtless be interested to know that distant psychedelic squall comes courtesy of Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner. It's a formula that can't quite hold firm for the whole 47 minutes, but at its best, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes moulds indie-rock into something fresh, clever and innovative.

Louis Pattison
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