Soul music is often misinterpreted. Most people take soul music to mean the sound of the 70's (Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson) and that is certainly what I usually think of, but TV ON THE RADIO threaten to augment that definition for the 21st century. With the release of their fourth record, "Nine Types of Light", they are now poised to make a mainstream dent in both the alternative and soul music markets.
Opening with the seriously groovy "Second Song", lead singer Tunde Adebimpe's announces the bands intention to create a sound that is unique by blending all their influences together. Stax era trumpets, Parliament bass lines weave in and out in beautiful concert. "Keep Your Heart" finds Adebimpe alternating between a baritone and a falsetto over a simple drum beat. "You" is an out right love song that could double as a gospel torch tribute. "No Future Shock" could be a Prince outtake (back when he cared what he sounded like).
The highlights really start coming with the epic "Killer Crane which builds off a piano and synth marriage into a song of hope and inspiration about life after all has fallen apart. It's the type of song COLDPLAY has been aiming for but doesn't have the musical chops to pull off. The single "Will Do" is a sort of companion to "You" as the theme of finding love as salvation returns. The last half of the record settles into a patterned groove collection of rock songs before ending with the revival blues stomp of "Caffeinated Consciousness" which echoes a bit of JACK WHITE'S work filtered through their own lens.
This is a record that will deepen with every listen. It has the potential to be the kind of album that marks their ascendency to the big leagues with bands like ARCADE FIRE as the new voices of a generation. It's that good.