Certain bands seem destined for greatness. With TVOTR it wasn’t immediately clear given the angular, heavy feeling of their first album, but with each of their subsequent efforts you began to hear a band dead set on slow and steady evolution. By the time “Cookie Mountain” arrived the band had proven that punk, funk, and electro-dance could co-exist happily in a kind of melodious groove. With 2008’s “Dear Science” the band had become broadly accessible without losing a shred of credibility and like Radiohead before them seem committed to both genre-defying creativity and the production of albums in an era of singles.
On “Nine Types of Light,” the band’s fourth full length, the corners are even brighter than ever with songs that alternate between shimmering ballads like “You” ( a near perfect love song), their more traditional dance heritage on tunes like “Repetition” (echoes of Peter Gabriel vocals that morph into an infectitious dance beats), and near radio friendlygroove pop on “Caffeinated Consciousness.” Perhaps some of the sunshine here is the result of the Brooklyn-based band’s choice to record the album in LA. Despite their prolific tendencies (side projects like Maximum Balloon, and Rain Machine) and acting gigs like Tunde Adebimpe’s lead role in “Rachel Getting Married,” the band seems poised to make a long career of this steady dance towards the sun. RIP, bassist Gerard Smith who died way too young yesterday at the age of 36. He will be missed.