World Cafe Live presents the live set TV on the Radio performed on NPR on May 27, 2011, not long after the release of their album Nine Types of Light and the death of bassist Gerard Smith. On record, David Sitek's famously layered production sometimes makes the band’s songs sound so massive that they seem immobile, but here they swing, punch, and groove with the energy of players who know each other well but still find excitement in making music together. This provides a shot in the arm to two of Nine Types of Light's mellower moments, giving “Caffienated Consciousness” an urgency fitting its title and an even more soulful intimacy to the lovely “Will Do.” TV on the Radio go further back in their songbook with Return to Cookie Mountain's “Province,” which boasts some particularly throaty harmonies, and with Dear Science's equally snarling and sexy “Red Dress.” However, they save the best for last with “Repetition,” a potent reminder of just how hard they can rock (a side of their sound that was largely missing from Nine Types of Light). This is a nice companion to the band’s studio work, and at the very least it should inspire fans to go see TV on the Radio in concert.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares