Friday, June 16, 2006

For It's Only A Melody That Can Save Us From Ourselves

TV On The Radio
Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
2004, Touch & Go

This boogie woogie album of distorted bass, vocal harmonies and ambient from hell or anywhere 4:00 am was released 2 years ago and it wasn’t a sleeper at all, no sir, it wasn’t; it was one of the top albums of the year, made several best of the year lists and so on; a year before they had issued their EP Young Liars to some good reception but this was the album that took everyone by surprise, in an era of post punk revivalists and persons of less moral value, it was a breath of fresh air, something so original and alive coming out of this amazing album, with such songs so complex and simple at the same time, in odd rock n’ roll instrumentation, it was a blessed thing, i tell you, or i might not have to tell you since you probably already know about it, hipster boy.

This band is based on the bass but they have little or nothing to do with funk or reggae, the basic of bass based musics, there’s not slap at all, no melodically rhythmic low end riffs, there’s plenty of bass riffs alright but not dancy ones; to add to the insult, they also use a drum machine and their music is not dancy at all, it might seem weird to you, throw you out a bit but, believe me, that’s part of the deal here. So let’s check here: bass, not funky not dancy, but brutal as the melodic motif of the music, as the basis of their collages, distorted sometimes, commanding always; just brutal. Drum machine, almost never dancy, almost always blending with the background, in camouflage clothing and with the face painted green and brown; in fact the beat is really kept by the bass more than the beatbox, while the d-machine adds little changes over it’s lines; note that i say the bass “keeps” the beat and it doesn’t create rhythms, since rhythms are few steps from dancing and jerkying around, and that’s not happening here, not on the surface at least. This is the mold where the other instrumentations and vocal harmonies are springled over, weird ass keyboards lurk everywhere, tracks one and nine have a honking sax, guitars sometimes squeal some notes just to make it weirder and more textured, like a velvet covered rock; the voices are the real characters in this soundscapes, more than one, like the ones in your head, even thought they never scream or are raised that much, most of the time they are singing, intercepting each other in the audio field, trying to encounter the end of one and complementing the other, maybe denying the first one, or rejecting the last, coming over everywhere, unexpecting to when will they fall back and leave just one, or when will they attack, or if they would stop attacking, agreeing on disagreeing and getting to saying the same thing at the same time, reinforcing the idea, the truth: The Melody, for it’s only a melody that can save us from ourselves, from the voices in our head, from the rain and the tape hiss; it’s allied or divide and conquer and the record is the warfield, waging for all to end...and does it end? I can’t really tell from here, but then again, who can win if the subjects fighting are one and the same? This is the explosions and lights of a battlefield made music...and it’s damn great music, i might add.

PS: They will be releasing a new album soon.


Staring At The Sun.mp3

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