TV On The Radio - Manchester Night & Day Cafe - 16.5.06

We’ve heard little of TV on the radio since they took the shortlist crown a couple of years ago, a hint that they were collaborating with Massive Attack, a mere droplet of info, info that if you’re anything like me and imagine the dark aggression of Mezzanine flanked by the haunting gospel of Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, was enough to sustain hope of the perfect album. But in the meantime TV have been generous enough to grace us with new material, which is inevitably a bit tricky on the ears.

New tracks like ‘Province’ and ‘Hours’ display all the characteristics of TV greats but on initial inspection lack a hook to draw correct conclusions. Like the first listen to ‘Dreams’ (which tonight is almost unrecognisably ‘beefed’ out) a baffling and heady mix that demands reiterative listening. On record these confusing first impression frequently fund a greater appreciation, but in a live context these new tracks fall foul to our unrefined ears (or maybe shit Night and Day sound?).

Previous tours saw core members Tunde, Kyp and David rattle through sparse arrangements, projecting Tynde’s unique warble above beatbox rhythms and acappella loops, gone are these days to be replaced with full bodied and fleshed out renditions. None more than a pummelling ‘Staring at the Sun’, which has evolved into a trident dance track that far outstrips its recorded incarnation.

It’s a bitter sweet gig, newer tracks failed to ignite yet we’re willing to reserve judgement, something tells us TV on The Radio will deliver on record, maybe its blind faith, or maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

Daniel Pratley

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