TV On The Radio is officially the sexiest band in indie rock. Or at least the most sexed-up. Most of their indie-rock contemporaries either treat love like something epic and metaphysical, or bury it under a layer of twee innocence. Dear Science, however, erases the distinction between “metaphysical” and just plain “physical,” as its 11 tracks bump, grind, howl, and seduce. If Death Cab For Cutie wants to possess your heart, then TV On The Radio wants to possess your phone number.
They’d deserve your digits, too. TVOTR push into straight-up dance territory (“Crying,” “Dancing Choose,” and the sick groove of “Red Dress”) just as convincingly as they smolder on the ballads (“Love Dog,” “Family Tree”). Even better, they’re masters of the slow build: “Golden Age” recalls Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” layering strings, horns, and choral swoops to a satisfying climax, and album closer “Lover’s Day” blossoms into a burst of swirling instruments that nods to “All You Need is Love.”
But after a night with Dear Science, you’ll also need a cigarette.