Hey, he kind of sounds like ...
I'm warning you.
What's that guy's name? Paul?
I'm begging you.
You know, the "Sledgehammer" dude.
For the love of everything holy.
It's something biblical. Something like Paul, puh, puh, Perry? No. Peter! That's it!
You dick. It's your funeral.
Peter! Peter Gabriel! Yeah, that guy sounds totally like Peter Gabriel!
Just couldn't help yourself, could you? You heard that throbbing new-wave beat. The humming electronic static. The eerie calm amid the ticking-time-bomb pace. That familiar tone. That voice. And now you've gone and pissed off Tunde Adebimpe. And you know you don't want to piss off anybody with a name like Tunde Adebimpe.
"It's OK. It doesn't really irritate me anymore," Adebimpe says with a laugh.
"It used to bother me, but I've made my peace with it," he says. "I mean, what can I do about it? I can't afford that kind of operation. I'm not a huge fan of Peter Gabriel, but I guess at least nobody is comparing anyone in the band to Meat Loaf."
Good point. Nonetheless, Adebimpe's TV on the Radio is darting out of the underground like so many bats out of hell. The Brooklyn band is buzzing just as its first full-length, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, is about to hit the big time.
Ha, I get it! Like "Big Time."
Seriously, go play in traffic before you hurt yourself.
Let's focus now.
Long before TV on the Radio inked a deal with Touch and Go Records or earned a spot at this year's South by Southwest music-industry strokeathon, the band began with Adebimpe and David Sitek exchanging quirky four-track records. The friendship evolved into a partnership as the duo began performing improvised sets in and around Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood. The pair's chemistry was sparked by a willingness to trudge beyond the conventional parameters defining pop music and pop culture. Among their myriad influences: Al Columbia comics, Bollywood films and the latest They Might Be Giants DVD.
"They are really great musicians," Adebimpe says. "At first I thought it was a guilty pleasure, but it's not. It's just a pleasure. I may be slitting my hipster throat by admitting that, but I don't care."
Adebimpe and Sitek melded and refined their digital cacophony, released a demo (OK Calculator) and collaborated with members of the Liars and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Then Touch and Go released their Young Liars EP last July, and critics tripped over one another to lavish praise on the daring experimental pop that fused jazz, rock, doo-wop and hip-hop, and filled in the gaps with loops and electronic noise. The band added Kyp Malone, drummer Jaleel Bunton and bassist Gerard Smith, then retreated to New Jersey to record Desperate Youth.
It's an album filled with so many layers, loops and instruments that the band is virtually incapable of replicating the sound outside the studio.
"It would probably take eight or nine people to really do it," Malone says. "But we're not really trying to re-create the sound of the record. That would get boring. We have the freedom to try different things. That way, a song on the record might not sound anything like the song we play live."
Sitek and Malone provide much of the atmospheric groundwork for the band's music, but Adebimpe's voice is the real linchpin. And yes, he does sound a bit like back-in-the-day Peter Gabriel. Only better. At least on throbbing gems like "Staring at the Sun."
Hey, staring at the sun would hurt your eyes. You know: "In your eyes/The light, the heat in your eyes."
Lord, I don't ask for much. But I could really use a lightning bolt right about now.
Adebimpe's mug won't be visible on TRL anytime soon, but with the South by Southwest appearance, the remainder of a national tour with the Liars and the release of Desperate Youth, things will get more hectic for the band.
"You just hope it makes as much sense outside of your head as it did on the inside," Adebimpe says of the album.
And making sense of Desperate Youth is half the fun. The album's electric urgency propels you through a nine-song head trip, with some pointed and poignant messages lurking beneath the achingly beautiful music.
With "Polly," Nirvana tricked us all into singing along to the kidnap, rape and torture of a hitchhiker. Another kind of twist lies within the toe-tapping, head-wagging rhythms of TV's "The Wrong Way," a hummable song with lyrics bemoaning the hollow materialism of Top 40 fodder: Hungry for those diamonds/Served on little severed bloody brown hands/Oh, the bling drops/Oh, the bling drops down/Fallin' down just like rain. Likewise, "Ambulance" is a deceptively tender love song: I will be your accident if you will be my ambulance/And I will be your screech and crash if you will be my crutch and cast.
It is perhaps one of the more inadvertently sweet sentiments since Adam Sandler's character in Punch Drunk Love whispered to his lover, "Your face ... I just wanna smash it with a sledgehammer, you're so pretty."
Sledgehammer? That reminds me ...
Oh, shut up.