About five minutes into TV on the Radio’s 2003 debut EP, Young Liars, comes a song that will make you want to fuck, fight, and set fire to things. A musical jolt summoned by the creative dyad of Tunde Adebimpe and Dave Sitek pushes all the right buttons. It arrived at a time when the US had just occupied Iraq, SARS pierced through humanity’s shell, and hip-hop ruled the Billboard charts. But instead of crumbling under the weight of the world, TV on the Radio charged ahead, celebrating the magic of planting their seed in the soil of New York’s early ‘00s rock renaissance.
TV on the Radio peak when Malone and Adebimpe sound profoundly untamed, unstable, and completely frantic. Is it slightly sadistic to enjoy them sounding dizzyingly euphoric, like they’ve lost it and are clawing their way back but need your help to do so? Perhaps. Science’s “Golden Age” is a prime, meaty slice of hysteria wrought around a rock-tight composition. That was an age when the band had staked out a curious musical gray area, and when the song’s chaos engulfs them (“All light beings, come on now make haste/ Clap your hands if you think you’re in the right place”), they possess a joyous energy cleaving right down to the bone, pushing through those entangled percussions that hit hard like a punch straight to the gut. The triumphant posture of “Dancing Choose” sounds like a ranting madman running down the streets with a loudspeaker: “He’s a WHAT? He’s a WHAT?