Seeds is TV On the Radio‘s first album since the death of their bassist Gerard Smith, three years ago, and they have managed to retain the same buoyancy and fluidity in meshing together such a range of genres. The second track of the album “Careful You” seems to have a very French electro-inspired vibe, down to the opening lyrics “Oui je t’aime,” highlighting their strengths in endless genre sampling.
“Happy Idiot” is quite possibly the high point of the album, showing signs of their earlier grittier sounds with successes like “Wolf Like Me.” “Winter” does sort of make up for this with its jarring riffs. “Test Pilot” takes the pace of the album down a few notches, instead creating one of the more emotive moments of the track list.
The tone lead singer, Tunde Adebimpe, voice adds to the heavily electro sound to most of their music could be paralleled as a tempered version of Kele Okereke’s solo work. This album also sees a greater presence of Kyp Malone in leading the vocals on certain tracks, for instance on “Love Stained.” “Trouble” makes a kind of determined statement of optimism in its lyrics, as if to assure that they have overcome the tough period following the loss of Smith; “Everything’s gonna be okay”. Title track “Seeds” has a 90s grungier feel to it with a kind of electro humming.
One of the most distinctive features of the record might in fact be the album artwork, putting to good use Adebimpe’s animation skills. The LP comes complete with the usual lyric book and two vinyls but also an art book with a lenticular plastic sheet that animates the album art when placed over it. This is undoubtedly a feature to be appreciated by fans who follow the lead singer’s other artistic projects, including animation and directing.