Resonant Verse

The Expressive TV on the Radio


TV on the Radio

Sun Nov 16


TV on the Radio's Tunde Adibempe has a rasp in the higher reaches of his singing voice that's earned him Peter Gabriel comparisons. Really, though, "Blind" is the only TVOTR track that bears any real resemblance to any of Gabriel's (it ponders like "Don't Give Up"), and when Adibempe sings the phrase "My love is a sucker bet," you realize it's in a serene, intellectual emotionalism where the two singers find parity. But where Gabriel had Kate Bush begging him to keep on keepin' on, "Blind" comes off like a relationship death knell. Adibempe trails off in a woozy hum of a lyric--"If you save yourself/I'll save you all the time"--sung with a tactile dejection, a reservation, and more as an utterance than an appeal.

At its inception, the band's line-up was comprised of Adebimpe and producer David Sitek (a contemporary manner of band if there ever was one; after all, producers are the new rock stars!). Now a five-piece, TVOTR exerts much restraint, streamlining their rather broody rock guitars and understated drum machine into a wispy pillow for Adibempe's redemptive, casually soulful voice, the centerpiece of the band's Young Liars EP (Touch and Go). The songs' genesis was in his voice; he says, "I'm a big fan of seeing the sketch underneath the painting. I wrote 'Staring at the Sun,' on a four-track, humming all the music and singing the lyrics; it was just a matter of me going over to Dave's and saying this is how it goes, and he did all the instrumentation. In the past, I've had huge problems with indecision as far starting a song goes. I'll be so hesitant about it--Dave's helped me with that; he's always like, 'Just try it, because it's better to know that it sucks than have it be nonexistent.'" Don't give up, Tunde.


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