Seeds is the fifth full-length release from Brooklyn indie-rock outfit TV on the Radio, and the first since the passing of former bassist Gerard Smith. While many wondered whether they should expect a heavily emotional album, as it was released following the death of a band member, the latest record has several moments that are empty and uninteresting. TV on the Radio decided to make a more accessible record and it only pays off to an extent.
TVOTR’s latest is most enjoyable during its energetic tracks. The lead single “Happy Idiot” is an exhilarating mix of early 2000s rock and modern electronic production. “Lazerray” brings a straightforward rock chord progression with an impressive vocal delivery. The horns on this song add some oomph and make the song much more layered.
The production on Seeds is fantastic. On “Careful You,” producer Dave Sitek makes the song shine with a lush synth soundscape, electronic drums, and reverb-soaked vocals.
The main issue with Seeds is the slow songs, which are well-composed but at times under-emotional. On “Trouble,” lead singer Tunde Adebimpe sings the cliché lines “Everything’s gonna be OK,” and “Don’t worry, be happy.” The instrumentals are impressive but the lyrics lack any substance. However, other slow jams do the trick, such as “Test Pilot” featuring Adebimpe’s stunning falsetto over gentle guitar chords.
Seeds is an enjoyable release from TV on the Radio, though at times disappointingly simple and incohesive. Despite the album’s downsides, its approachability allows new fans to get a good taste of TVOTR’s sound. If you’re looking to get into a new band, Seeds is a great place to start.