In a world full of derivative music, TV On The Radio are unique. Their high intensity mix of beats, synthesisers and falsetto-powered choruses lend them a sound and an energy which could emanate from no other band. Nine Types of Light, their fourth studio release, comes two and a half years after 2008’s critically acclaimed Dear Science, the album which put them onto the music industry’s commercial map, samples of which cropped up everywhere from dramas to computer games. Refreshingly, their success doesn’t seem to have altered their musical style and Nine Types of Light still features the same lyrical cleverness and familiar combination of moments ranging from melodic tranquillity to riff-fuelled chaos. There is a danger that their propensity to go in for everything in a potentially too massive way will lead some people into dismissing TV On The Radio as being a bit ridiculous; but it is this very quality which lets them get away with it and when David Bowie volunteers to sing backing vocals on your music you know you’re onto a winner.
The main difference between Nine Types of Light and its predecessor is the overriding sense of freedom and joy which it possesses. If Dear Science was the sound of a man trapped in a confined space continually plotting glorious escapes, then Nine Types of Light is the sound of his return to the sunshine. Tracks like ‘Second Song’and ‘Will Do’are good examples of this and reveal that, at its essence, Nine Types of Light is a collection of unabashed love songs. The album’s energy is infectious and features many a sing-a-long chorus which lends Nine Types of Light the potential to become one of the best alternative albums of summer 2011.