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4.1 out of 5 stars23
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Purchased on a whim not having heard anything by the band previously, I wasn't impressed with this at the first listen. I thought "Halfway Home" was alright, and really liked "Lover's Day" was great, but the rest left me cold, and I consigned the CD to my "failed experiments" pile for a while. A few days later I gave it another go and found more to enjoy, plus had the urge to listen to it again straight away, which I did, and from that moment on I absolutely loved this album.

Above all else, the thing I like the most about this album is that no two songs sound the same - not even the same genre of music. Some of the tracks start off new-wave but then become more rock-like part way through ("Halfway Home"), but then you'll find a rap with a bizarre backing track ("Dancing Choose"), a funk work-out ("Red Dress"), something dark and sexual ("Stork and Owl"), and more besides. It is fair to say they're an acquired taste, but my goodness - what a taste! One thing which throws you at first is that the band has two lead vocalists, both with very different styles, but this is one of those rare albums where once you have got into it there isn't a bad track to be found. Since buying this one I've bought the rest of their catalogue, and they're almost as good as this. One last thing: the production is absolutely immaculate.

Fantastic album. Believe the hype, and buy it.
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on 30 December 2010
Where on earth did this come from? After two albums which sounded like the work of a band in love with itself and way too cool for its own good, TVOTR delivered a masterpiece in late-2008 with their third; Dear Science. Not since OK Computer had there been an album which suddenly seemed to make all of your other favourite bands sound irrelevant.

There is no lo-fi punkiness here. This is detailed, meticulous pop music, with layers of instruments which shouldn't really go together but somehow sound perfect (horns with synths? keyboards with violins?) Every time you listen to certain songs you can pick out a different instrument doing something interesting. This is also their most varied album, each song sounds distinct from the last. Certain songs will make you desperate to dance, others will bowl you over with their widescreen beauty.

Perhaps the conundrum for forward-thinking musicians is how to break new ground whilst making it palatable enough for the listener, how to do something unique but still listenable and loveable. TV on the Radio have totally pulled it off. It's one of those albums which makes you relieved, because it shows that alternative music has evolved and we don't have to settle for stuffy old indie bands recycling their influences. Five stars isn't enough for this album, which is my favourite of the noughties.
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TV On the Radio is one of those is rarest and most precious in contemporary music -- they actually possess creativity, talent, and an earthy musical power.

And if their brilliant sophomore album was a dense exploration of a "Cookie Mountain," then their third album is a dance-filled festival of colour and vivacious song. "Dear Science" sounds like TV on the Radio has stepped back from their more intense work, decided to have some fun with their music, and whipped the same sounds into a dancier, warmer album. And it works brilliantly.

They warm up with the thumping, breathless post-rock of "Halfway Home," an ever-building cloud of subtle instrumentation and mellow vocals. It's very reminiscent of the band's prior work, and serves as a bridge to their new sound. And it soon becomes evident that the band is not just trying to get a catchy single on the radio -- they rush through the funk-jazzy warmth of "Crying" and the delightfully wild electro-funk of "Dancing Choose," which sounds like the band got pumped full of caffeine.

Then they try all sorts of other songs -- wild dancy electro-funk, slow wistful jazz-ballads, the string-laden post-rock of, hip-hoppy rock numbers strung with golden keyboard, and even a mellow, soulful jazzy-electro ballad ("Lonely the love dog that/no one knows the ways of"). And it finishes up with a trio of stunningly unpolished dance songs -- the blazing, fast-moving "Shout Me Out," the swirlingly bleak "DLZ" and finally the dense uplifting thicket of "Lover's Day."

The absolute peak of all this the organic beats and funky rhythms of "Golden Age," as Tunde Adebimpe whispers suitably offbeat lyrics in a high-pitched voice. But then the tight electro-funky song blooms into a great sweeping mass of movie-musical-style trumpets and epic strings, still saturated with a funky beat and joyous cries of "Oh it's a miracle... and there's a golden age/coming round, coming round, COMING ROOOOOOUUNNNDDD..."

Few bands are able to take all the elements of their music, mix it up in a blender, and then reconstruct them in a completely different -- but equally brilliant -- way. "Dear Science" would be a brilliant album just taken on its own merits, but the enormity of what TV on the Radio was able to do with their distinctive sound makes it even more mind-blowing.

In a sense, their music is both darker and more entertaining -- we get plenty of solid guitar work, ranging from buzzing postrock riffs to a blazing rock'n'roll drive, as well as a sweeps of movie-style strings, a powerful horn section that blazes out in songs like "Lover's Day," dancy beats, and the unstoppable webs of ever-shifting synth that snare your ear like a spiderweb. Though they're more confident and assured than ever, they still have that rough edge that keeps the poppiest song from sounding, you know, studio-polished.

Tunde Adebimpe has a voice like a cup of strong coffee -- it's powerful, organic, and a little bit bitter around the edges. He raps, he croons, he murmurs, he snarls, he sings over the blazing horns. And the lyrics he sings, while not quite the most focused work they've done, are still brilliantly meaty stuff that spans everything from death to newspaper men, love dogs to forbidden love ("Alone in the ceiling/ours is a feeling/not that they would see/they don't know that we could be/the million cradles in the sea...")

"Dear Science" is brilliant example of just how far TV on the Radio's talents go -- they can change their entire style and yet sound like no one but themselves.
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on 29 January 2016
Dear Science is the third album by American art rock band TV on the Radio (and no, I'm not lifting this verbatim from Wikipedia), formed in 2001 in New York. While not as experimental as their first two LPs (2004's Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, and 2006's Return to Cookie Mountain), it represents a further development in the group's songwriting abilities. Boasting such tracks as Dancing Choose, Family Tree, and Golden Age, Dear Science showcases the various talents and individual styles within the band, and highlights the production skills of Dave Sitek who successfully meshes all the conflicting influences into a coherent whole.

A tremendous album.
Buy it.
Buy it now.
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on 21 January 2009
I found Return to Cookie Mountain challenging to being with, but repeated listens soon paid off. By contrast - and this is rarely a good sign - Dear Science sounded surpisingly accessible on the first listen .... and in due course the album's charms have regressed. Too much of it sounds bland in comparison to earlier recordings, and the slower tracks in particular slide into a genre that already boasts a wealth of more effective proponents. Of course, dexterity is a good thing, but I worry that TVOTR, as with so many before them, have lost something in the pursuit of wider acclaim. Otherwise, I doubt that those new to the band will be disappointed since this is certainly a cut above most of the rest.
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on 13 July 2009
My first purchase of a TVOTR cd but I found `Dear Science', orignal, fresh and consistently good. This is an exciting collection of songs which achieve contrasting pace and style throughout the album. As a result there is always the element of surprise lurking round the corner and one's attention is never allowed to wander. Highly recommended in my book. I would love to see them live.
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on 13 October 2008
I bought this cd after a long search for something new and different being pretty bored with most that is going on today. Not that impressed after the first hearing but when you listen again it is easy to see that there is something good here. Two weeks later I now think that it is the best cd I have bought in many years, just give it a chance.
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on 15 November 2008
This deliciously packaged third album from the fantastic TV On The Radio is a real gem. Following on from their 2006 album Return to Cookie Mountain, the album has a distinctly different feel. Where RtCM played with expansive sounds and interesting rhythms, 'Dear Science' has a more refined and cleaner sound. Don't worry, their delightful percussion is still there, just less pronounced, making room for a large use of sax and brass, and as such the tracks on Dear Science have a fuller sound when compared to their previous album.

I was already slightly familiar with 'Golden Age' having heard it on the radio a few times, and I'd heard 'Family Tree' once, but these songs are only the tip of the iceberg when you listen to the whole album. It begins with the fantastic 'Halfway Home', a merciless onslaught of foot-tapping beats and beautiful vocals, the highlight being the chorus, where you just can't help but sing out "Is it not me? Am I not folded by your touch?" as high as you can, in a pathetic attempt to match Adebimpe's range. Other highlights on the record include the soothing 'Stork & Owl', 'Love Dog' and of course the beautiful 'Family Tree' with its echoing piano chords, haunting vocals and slow march towards a climatic finish where the percussion comes in and the string section expands. The last three tracks of the album are all fantastic in their own way; 'Shout Me Out' with its transformation from ethereal beginnings to a fast paced finish; 'DLZ' and its gritty sound with the catchy line "This is beginning to feel like the dawn of the luz of forever"(what is a luz?); and of course 'Lover's Day' makes a fantastic finish to the album, with its sensual saxophone and flute arrangement at the end.

A wonderfully styled insert contains the lyrics, presented in a completely original fashion (in my experience at least), and pulls the whole thing together to make this an extremely worthy purchase. Having seen them perform a few years ago after the release of RtCM, I eagerly await their show on the 17th November at the Manchester Academy. Can they pull it off live? Of course they can.
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on 4 October 2008
After seeing TV on the Radio on Jools Holland this week playing Golden Age I thought i'd give the album a go. I hadn't been to fussed before hand because I found the previous album hard to listen to. "Dear Science on the other hand isn't! Very good album, Halfway Home and Golden Age being current faves, I haven't really found a track I don't like on here. Certainly worth buying, it put a smile on my face this morning.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 22 September 2008
I know not whether Mr Jones deserves the pasting delivered by Mr Carter for
his brief but positive review but I will try, not without a little trepidation,
to deliver a Wolf's-eye view of this splendid new offering from TV On The Radio.

Messrs Adebimpe, Malone, Sitek, Bunton and Smith have every reason to
be proud of themselves. From the Beachboys-On-Mars opening 'Halfway Home',
to the martial mayhem of closing track 'Lover's Day' we are clearly
travelling through a very exotic landscape indeed.

The fusion of electronic and accoustic (brass and strings) elements in
these eleven extraordinarily bold compositions is exemplary.

The expressionistic lyrical themes and vocal performances are both
elusive and affecting in equal measure.

From the raucous funk of 'Golden Age' and 'Red Dress' (Mr Bowie hovers,
smiling, in the wings) via the surreal melodic ambience of 'Love Dog' to
the strangely haunting and beautiful 'Family Tree' and 'Stork & Owl'
there is not not an ounce of spare musical gristle or fat anywhere to be
found in this deeply satisfying project.

Uplifting. Smart. Consumately Conceived.

Highly Recommended.
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