Seeds marks TV on the Radio’s first album since their excellent 2011 effort, Nine Types of Light, and their first since the passing of the group’s bassist Gerard Smith. This new project is welcome return for the band, which provides some of what we’ve come to expect from TVOTR, but also has it’s share of surprises.
The album bears a subdued sound for most of it’s duration, as well as a far more electronic sound than the group’s previous works. “Careful You”, the album’s stellar second track, features a simple, synthetic drum beat with heavy, bouncy synths. Lead vocalist Tunde Adebimpe crafts one of the catchiest choruses on the album, singing about a woes of a struggling relationship. “What’s the deal? Is it real? When’s it gonna go down?” sings Adebimpe.
The album’s lead single “Happy Idiot” is another great track, featuring a fast paced beat and a groovy bassline, making it one of the catchiest songs the group has ever produced. The following track, “Test Pilot” boasts an amazing chorus, with powerfully strummed guitars and a spacious backing vocals that coincide very nicely with Adebimpe’s lead vocals. Lyrically, the album compares the beginnings of a new relationship to being a test pilot, with the two lovers taking a leap of faith in there new-found affections.
Throughout the album, Seeds showcases TVOTR’s incredible ability to combine sonically detailed and compelling instrumentals with emotional lyrics and vocals, making nearly every track enjoyable, even if they don’t reinvent the group’s sound. The album is far from safe, but rather beautifully combines familiarity with just enough change to keep the listener intrigued. The track “Ride” begin’s with a atmospheric and emotionally charged instrumental, before breaking into a happy and upbeat anthem. Songs like “Winter” and Lazerray” have a definite garage rock feel, and serve as a great contrast to the album’s electronic sound.
Overall, Seeds is a vastly enjoyable and impressive project full of emotion, creative instrumentals, and solid lyrics and melodies from Adebimpe. While it is not incredibly innovative, this project perfectly rides the line between too safe and too different, making for an incredibly solid project, and one of the year’s best in the alternative genre.
Standout Tracks: “Happy Idiot”, “Careful You”, “Test Pilot”, “Seeds”