So, everyone knows the score by now. TV on the Radio releases something, we critics lose our shit. It’s perfectly understandable if you know the band, and by now, who doesn’t? Since Young Liars, we’ve been bombarded by their genius, which some thought wasn’t as fully developed on their full-length, Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes. But you and I know fully well that anyone who says so is wrong. But upon hearing their latest EP, New Health Rock, any doubters will be convinced that TV on the Radio is nothing if not unstoppable.
Now, objectively speaking, New Health Rock may not look like much. There are only three songs — one new original, a cover and “The Wrong Way” off of Desperate Youth. But let’s dissect this here EP and take a closer look.
First of all, “Wrong Way” is a hot track, no matter how you look at it. That fuzzed-out bass and funky-assed saxophones never get old, nor does the slight touch of flute. It’s pure brilliance, even if it is a leftover. But the first track, “New Health Rock” is reason enough for owning it. This could have been the band covering Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music with that extra song tacked on and it would be worth it. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but damn this song is good. While the band marries a dancey bassline and drum beat to their trademark gauzy guitar haze, Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe race each other in an endless barrage of madcap vocals that drive the song with an intense energy that makes the song stand out, if for no other reason than their crazy delivery.
Lastly, there’s a cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Modern Romance” that’s a little weird, but grows on you. Using falsetto vocals and vintage organs, the song ends up sounding atmospheric and cloudy, like a DNTEL outtake. It sounds nothing like the YYYs, that’s for sure. But it’s just another reason to keep listening to TV on the Radio. No matter what, they’re constantly evolving and keeping things interesting.
Even if this EP is just over sixteen minutes and has only one new original song and a cover, it’s worth the low price. And it also comes packaged with copies of Desperate Youth in some stores. Either way, it’s worth getting your hands on. TV on the Radio are running straight into the future and they’re not waiting up for anyone.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps
TV on the Radio – Young Liars
Interpol – Obstacle 1
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.