TV on the Radio’s main strength is said to lie in the voice of Tunde Adebimpe, the very thing that kept me from liking the group’s music for a long time. He sings skillfully but with a self-conscious, overdubbed, reverby melodrama that quickly reveals how cool we’re supposed to consider his vehicle (New York’s hottest new export). Although there are some viscerally undeniable grooves on Young Liars, when the highlight of a debut EP is as gimmicky and presumptuous as an a cappella Pixies cover, it should become obvious that some substance is lacking. Fortunately, it looks like the band figured that out in time for their first full-length, Desperate Youth. The shockingly intimate “Dreams” signals something much less detached than Young Liars‘ formulaic dance-rock/trip-hop crescendos, and “Poppy,” delicately showcasing the group’s primal beats, shoegazey guitar and multilayered harmonies, demonstrates the more sober arrangements from which every song on this album benefits. The band’s growth is intermittently evidenced by glaring landmarks such as these. Even without the apparent rote, it still feels like they’re trying to convince us that they’re having a good time recording their music and that we’re having a good time listening to it, but now, there seems to be some truth to it. (Touch & Go)