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Dear Science, has all the euphoria and cosmic soul searching hinted at but not delivered on by lesser chancers such as MGMT.
Patrick Freyne, 07 Oct 2008
Wow, a really amazing follow up to their Return To Cookie Mountain debut from the gents in TV On The Radio. To get all metaphorical on your review-reading asses for a minute – Dear Science, (the coma’s part of the title) sounds a little like Prince and the Revolution slowly being dissolved in Captain Beefheart’s stomach acids (accompanied by some Talking Heads flavoured antacids maybe). Alluring as that metaphor is, I’m sure it doesn’t really help you imagine what it sounds like. So to break it down even further – Dear Science, is soulful and beautiful but it never loses its edge. It’s got syncopated and disjointed drum tracks, sparse off-centre funk guitars, gritty on-centre indie guitars, and dissonant buzzing synth lines, all of which spar with the lush strings, well-placed horns and beautiful multi-tracked singing from Tunde Adebimpe. This all conspires to keep the listener smiling but slightly off balance.
Because Dear Science, has all the euphoria and cosmic soul searching hinted at but not delivered on by lesser chancers such as MGMT, and it’s all rooted around some truly deep and searching lyricism. The best song is the beautiful ‘Family Tree’, which with its piano base and haunting melody, sounds a little bit like a song from an updated Wizard Of Oz. Tunde sings: “Now we gather in the shadows of your family tree in altered harmony brought down by an old idea whose time has come/In the shadow of the gallows of your family tree, there’s a hundred hearts soar free/Hanging onto the roots of evil to keep me young”.
Which is deeply beautiful to my ears (even if I’ve misheard it). I have to say – nothing beats the sound of clever people making heartfelt music.
Key Track: ‘Family Tree’