TV on the Radio, Little Dragon

Over the last five years, Brooklyn's TV on the Radio has succeeded in making weird sounds relatively accessible, garnering that much-coveted "art-rock" designation. Yet seemingly cognizant of how "played" that distinction may be, the band's third full-length, last year's Dear Science, is a noticeable shift away from driving guitars to a more "art-pop" sound. Upbeat, horn- and string-lined arrangements give vocalist Tunde Adebimpe's falsetto a softer feel, as does guitarist Kyp Malone's heftier, deeper vocal presence.

Whereas the crunchy guitars of TV's past three records made Adebimpe seem a bit on the abrasive side, the dancey, electro-club feel of "Golden Age" and "Crying" sound much lighter—as if he were actually, y'know, having fun.

With Dear Science, TV on the Radio has done the nearly impossible—made an album that doesn't sound redundant, for themselves or the worlds they exist in. The album transforms their energy into something accessible but still uniquely theirs. And it all translates quite well into the band's live show.

Similar oddballs, Sweden's Little Dragon, open.

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Michael D. Ayers