TV on the Radio
Young Liars EP


4.0
excellent

Review

by USER (42 Reviews)
July 21st, 2008 | 19 replies | 7,033 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: TV on the Radio constructs a sound neither set in any pre-conceived genre or idea

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

It’s easy to trace an artist’s body of work to his/her background and influential upbringing, it is almost emblematic. It is also easy to find these visible influences and background in the framework of the artist’s work. In the case of TV on the Radio, it comes to no surprise that the band’s core is composed of ambitious artists in many different fields. With this ambition and visionary scope equipped, encompassing post-punk, soul, and other left-field genres and post-something’s, it should only make sense that the core of the group are artists in both mediums of visual art and music. This is a rare example of defining the artful meditative thoughts into the edges of the band’s music; ambition not quite seen embodied so well. With the release of TV on the Radio’s Young Liars in 2003, the blueprint had been set in terms of the band’s willingness to create a truly distinctive and amorphous sound; a sound neither set in any pre-conceived genre or idea.

Despite the fact that the band's origins are held in North America, this commonality would not be so easy to deduce otherwise. The 5 track EP is difficult to pigeonhole based on any sort of city atmosphere to serve as its primary influence. The songs here all take cues from noxious and disparate genres as soul, electronica, post-rock, accappela, film music, and even African vocal music; TV on the Radio sounds like nothing out there. Though this may be a statement made as frequent as water falling from a tap, TV on the Radio is one of the few bands that is able to truly validate this statement; instead of being tagged with other similarly labeled bands labeled by the music press. Pure atmosphere is carried and weighed down onto the backbone of the record’s musical framework as Dave Sitek acts as a sonic sculptor, tweaking certain sounds and cramming them all into the wonderfully languid and meditative atmosphere. The heavy reliance on atmosphere is a tactic induced by the production of the record which is alienated and detached from each different sound; giving each dizzying sound and idea a room to breathe. On the opener “Satellite”, a frantic and epileptic rhythm bursts out from the speakers under a subtle wave of droning synths as Tunde Adebimpe’s melancholic voice sings with a soulful grace not quite seen by other vocalists. Adebimpe’s range and tonal clarity is a gem in indie rock; a vocalist who knows how to actually sing. “Satellite”’s redeeming and enchanting quality is the isolated guitars and the frantic rhythm that seems almost ripped out of a hardcore song, giving the song a soaring and triumphant quality.

The aforementioned atmospheric leanings that are so noticeable in the band’s evolving sound are seen most unmistakably in the album highlight “Blind”. A brooding piece, “Blind” embodies all the necessary qualities of an epic, without relying on any climax or ridiculously prolonged song-length. Still, even with the song stretching to seven minutes, it is able to cram as many beautiful and bewildering sounds all without sacrificing Adebimpe’s incredible vocal performance; wrapping all of these elements into a tightly knit and cohesive package that is beautiful, dark, atmospheric and evocative. Adebimpe’s achingly earnest vocals make lyrics like “I seen a girl/With a guy/With hair like yours” and “From what I remember/Been so long since last December” seem like poetry, allowing the listener to agree that indeed, it’s been so long since last December. “Staring At the Sun” is set in motion immediately as an 80’s dance record b-side, with Adebimpe’s frighteningly agonized falsetto propelling it toward a heavenly level, giving Young Liars an added dose of diversity and also giving it multiple facets.

Sitek’s work on the EP must not be criminally understated here. Sitek’s brilliant production here adds an undertow of spiritually artificial atmosphere that gives the whole EP a futuristic and dystopian outlook sans the over-the-top electronica influences. Dave Sitek’s balancing act is the redeeming feature to the record’s cohesiveness; without this Young Liars would only seem as overly-ambitious. Instead, Young Liars is a natural product of the band’s diverse and disparate influences that is able to be pooled into a satisfying concoction that is organic and experimental; without dipping its toes into the foreseen territory of deliberate eclecticism. "Mr. Grieves" sets itself apart from the rest of the EP's atmosphere, instead incorporating an entirely different one that is strangely meek and humble, with the distinction between the Pixies intact with its wonderful acappela and vocalization. In this respect, Mr. Grieves is also Young Liars’ most representative track; demonstrating the band’s obvious choice to avoid any obvious alleyway’s to musical creativity, ambition, and innovativeness. This easily makes Young Liars more than satisfying and an excellent EP that set the blueprint for a band that did not allow a major label to obstruct the band’s ambition.



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4.1
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
slep
July 21st 2008



1604 Comments


FUUUUUCK, I was going to try to review this. Oh well, you did a much better job than I could probably ever do.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2008



20825 Comments


I've always been meaning to give this group a listen. This very good review should help me along. Well done Aficionado. Pos.

SHOOTME
July 21st 2008



2393 Comments


You are definitely one of our top contributors on this site Akbar. You need this pos.

Aficionado
July 22nd 2008



1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks bros.

robin
Emeritus
July 22nd 2008



4222 Comments


review rules, think i'll look around to see where to start with these guys.

Tyler
Emeritus
July 23rd 2008



7924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is where you should start. EP flat out rules. Mr. Grieves is better than the original. I said it and I meant it.

Aficionado
July 23rd 2008



1027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You said that this EP needed a proper review, did this fill the void bro?

KILL
January 6th 2010



67082 Comments


so who wrote this review

scotish
January 6th 2010



835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it was Robin (pianotuna)

edit: shit maybe it wasn't. idk.

robin
Emeritus
January 6th 2010



4222 Comments


nope aficionado

scotish
January 23rd 2010



835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

WHAT'S THAT FLOATING IN THE WATERRRR

zaruyache
February 17th 2013



4831 Comments


So I got here by clicking on the "punk" section of user/StreetlightRock's pie chart. Is this place like the train station in The Matrix? Am I somewhere stuffed between the couch cushions of reality? It's like this site's coding is breaking down before my eyes, again.

Digging: Paramnesia - Paramnesia

toxin.
February 18th 2013



11821 Comments


magicccc

Hedgehog32396
February 19th 2013



496 Comments


your profile is every genre on my pie chart
what is happening is this the twilight zone

ViperAces
February 19th 2013



12358 Comments



what is happening is this the twilight zone [2]

johnnyblaze
February 19th 2013



2572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned.

Digging: The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams

zaruyache
February 24th 2013



4831 Comments


My beacon's been moved under moon and star

zaruyache
March 9th 2013



4831 Comments


Sputnikmusic why does your coding suck so much wiener.

zaruyache
March 30th 2013



4831 Comments


Stuff is still babies. Why is babies falling apart, Sputnik?



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