Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

TV on the Radio: Nine Types of Light [Interscope, 2011]
The rumor that this is their love album will come as news to the woman who let him go and the woman who thinks they're incompatible and maybe even the woman whose heart he's gonna keep when the world falls apart. Not to mention the mother robbed blind and the fish washed up on the shore and the blues that keeps him on the shelf and the megaquake that's a force of nature and maybe even the killer crane that's not a piece of malfunctioning construction equipment. Because these guys were lovers before this war, a ceaselessly shifting conflict that has dominated their entire artistic life, love has always been part of their coping mechanism. But it'll obviously never be as big for them as music. In this iteration, that music is a trifle gentler and several times encourages dancing on the floor you've been knocked to. But it remains set on complexity, contemplation, and the interactions of art-rock texture, pan-rock rhythm, and African falsetto. Beautiful, especially if you like your beauty grand. And beauty is good. But how about some jokes? Jokes help people get through wars too. A-