First of all, don't get me wrong.
TV On The Radio (TVOTR) is one of the most innovative bands in music today. They're very, very good, and there is no disputing this. Dave Sitek is one of the least appreciated producers alive, Hell, he almost made Scarlett Johansson sound good (almost).
But, unfortunately, "Dear Science" is not the album everyone is saying it is. This is an album of epic proportions, sure, but there is such a thing as being too ambitious, and that's one thing this album suceeds at.
The good songs are very, very good. "Halfway Home" is an incredibly strong opener, and sets the atmopshere for what could be a mindblowing album. Unfortunately, it turns from good to very bad. Fast. TVOTR's desire to fuse genres and make something unheard of goes depressingly wrong about halfway through lead-single "Dancing Choose", which somehow tries to mix indie electronica-rock with disco-funk, and fails. If David Bowie and Brian Eno got their hands on really bad Cocaine around the "Low"-era, and Bowie was inexplicably angry, it might sound like this. The next few songs continue to disappoint, speeding up the tempo, adding unnecessary "wall-of-sound" horns, all over equally scoff-worthy lyrics.
"Family Tree", however, is somewhat of a saving grace for the album, and really turns a dismal streak of songs upside down. However, the strongest song of the album is followed by another string of should-be-B-Sides, including "Red Dress", one of the least credible indie-rock songs of the year. The album closes on a strong note with "Lover's Day", one of TVOTR's strongest tracks, but it can't save an album that's already received comparisons to "Kid A" and "Funeral", to of rock's greatest accomplisments.
"Dear Science" is hardly a bad album, and perhaps this would be 4-Star worhty if it hadn't been innappropriately compared to indie-rock gems. Mark my words, this is hardly the album of the year, that award should go to No Age or Fleet Foxes, this on the other hand, is an ambitious, decent album from a band committed to pushing the bar.