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Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes

Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes

5.0 3
by TV on the Radio

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As the past decades' conservative backdrops have proved again and again, when the going gets weird, the weird get going -- and that's exactly what's happened with this whiplash-inducing Brooklyn combo. Offering occasional nods to the ghosts of outsiders past -- a hint of The Fall here, a whiff of Pere Ubu there --


As the past decades' conservative backdrops have proved again and again, when the going gets weird, the weird get going -- and that's exactly what's happened with this whiplash-inducing Brooklyn combo. Offering occasional nods to the ghosts of outsiders past -- a hint of The Fall here, a whiff of Pere Ubu there -- frontman Tunde Adebimpe and company swim well beyond the breakwaters of post-rock present, combining skronk and stealth with surprising sophistication. "The Wrong Way," an incendiary take on the state of race relations in America, stays closest to the Mark E. Smith school of rock, underlaying its gnarled surface with touches of quasi-rockabilly that moves the ass while it frees the mind to follow. On the flip side, "Dreams" has an almost stately quality, dominated by enigmatic feedback drones, all the better to focus on Adebimpe's beat-poet declamations. In contrast to the quirky, teasing tone of their last offering, Young Liars, Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes is painted in stark monochromes that accentuate the bleak vibe of songs like "Ambulance" and "Don't Love You" in much the same way classic filmmakers use shadow and fog to convey a similar ambiance. The gathering gloom can sometimes make breathing deep feel unexpectedly good.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
TV on the Radio's Young Liars EP was a wonderful surprise, signaling the arrival of one of the most unique acts to seemingly come out of nowhere during the 2000s. Its alchemy of strange sonic bedfellows like post-punk and doo wop, and powerful vocals and experimental leanings, into songs that were challenging and accessible was no small feat; indeed, Young Liars was such an accomplished EP that it begged the question -- and ratcheted up the expectations -- of what TV on the Radio could do over the course of an entire album. The answer arrives with Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, a deeper, darker, denser version of the band's already ambitious sound. Dave Sitek and Tunde Adepimbe push their abilities as sculptors of sounds and words to new limits. Adepimbe in particular continues to prove himself as a distinctive and captivating voice, both musically and lyrically. Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes' opening track, "The Wrong Way," is one of the best reflections of his strengths as a singer and writer, and of TV on the Radio's overall growth. Through the song, Adepimbe explores his feelings about being a black man and about black culture at large. Inwardly, he wavers between radical and placating thoughts and his feelings of obligation to be "Teachin' folks the score/About patience, understanding, agape babe/And sweet sweet amour." Around him, he sees mindless materialism, with bling "fallin' down just like rain," and misplaced anger and violence: "Hey, desperate youth! Oh bloodthirsty babes! Oh your guns are pointed the wrong way." On their own, the lyrics are strong enough to make a fairly impressive poem, but Adepimbe's massed, choir-like vocals and the flutes, throbbing fuzz bass, and martial beat that Sitek surrounds them with turn them into an even more impressive and impassioned song. That TV on the Radio can handle an issue like race so creatively and eloquently shouldn't come as a surprise, considering how organically the group incorporates elements of soul, jazz, spirituals, and doo wop into the mostly lily-white world of indie/experimental rock. However, the song does offer a refreshing reminder that hip-hop and urban music -- as vital as they've been recently -- are not the only kinds of music that can handle this kind of dialogue. Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes is a political album on other levels, from the psychedelic soul-tinged antiwar meditation "Bomb Yourself" to the more subtle politics of relationships that many of the other songs cover. This also makes sense, considering that TV on the Radio formed partially in response to the apocalyptic feeling in New York after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This brooding vibe, which also informed Young Liars, comes to the forefront on songs like "Don't Love You," "King Eternal," and the beautifully bleak "Dreams," which makes the end of a relationship sound like urban blight. But Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes also leaves room for hope, and finds it in connections with other people. "Ambulance" is a creative look at love that sets lyrics like "I will be your screech and crash if you will be my crutch and cast" to doo wop in a way that not only invokes nostalgia, but transcends it to sound utterly fresh. "Poppy" might be the only love song that rhymes "individuated" with "congratulations," but the track's ecstatic guitars do most of the talking; "Wear You Out"'s erotic grind closes the album on a surprisingly sexy note. Even though Young Liars was an accomplished EP, TV on the Radio have already progressed beyond it. "Staring at the Sun," the only song included on the EP and Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, seems almost simplistic compared to the rest of the album's songs. While it's not perfect -- occasionally the album's heady, indulgent feel tends to make it drag -- Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes is still an impressive expansion of TV on the Radio's fascinating music.
Rolling Stone - Joe Caramanica
1/2 TV on the Radio's Desperate Youth is a rebuke to their retro peers: Not all the good ideas have been taken already.

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Touch & Go Records


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Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What needed to be said has already been said--all over the Internet. Do yourself a favor: to see a truly incredible band rock out at its finest, see TV on the Radio.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is nothing short of absolutely amazing. The best way to describe the sound is Eno-influenced doo-wop, soul, electronica and indie rock. If "Staring at the Sun" and "King Eternal" don't move you, it's possible that you don't have a soul. Kyp and Dave provide the perfect background for Tunde's vocals. This CD is the epitome of what TRUE songwriting and production are about. You can draw your own artistic comparisons for these guys, but the only band out there that comes close is Jeff Halevy's BLAK NOIZ (and his solo work) -- another NYC artist mind you. Definitely buy this album; it's worth every cent!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is full of soundscapes textured with fuzzy bass lines, post punk guitar work, saxophones, drum machines and the powerful voices- either acapella or accompanied by music. This band creates a sound that is new and infinitely compelling and combines it with great songwriting. In 9 songs, this band proves that they are on the forefront of the music scene. This is the best release this year and a great follow up to their amazing EP- young liars.