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March 21, 2004

New York Times

The most talked-about new album of New York rock isn't a downer, it just sounds that way. TV on the Radio's "Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes," released two weeks ago on the Touch and Go label, has arrived with the same up-from-the-clubs excitement that greeted the debut albums by the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with raves in the music press and celebrity sightings at gigs. And like those bands, TV on the Radio, a three-piece group from Brooklyn, has produced a first album that is a stunning statement of purpose.

Mr. Adebimpe, a slightly lumpy 29-year-old with permanently watery eyes and thick glasses, seems incapable of striking a rock star pose. Instead, he moans, cries and mumbles through songs about doomed relationships and mysterious agonies, often drawing out the words over several beats, as if to relish the power of each vowel. And his harmonizing, with Kyp Malone who also plays guitar is obsessive and chilling. In "Ambulance," which uses layers of overdubbed voices to create the illusion of a full a cappella ensemble, the two men murmur a bass line straight out of doo-wop while, in the lead parts, they slide up to whistlelike falsettos. The lyrics are like something out of J. G. Ballard: "I will be your accident if you will be my ambulance," they sing. "I will be your screech and crash if you will be my crutch and cast." More

Posted by acapnews at March 21, 2004 6:35 PM

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