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Maximum Balloon is TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek but, strictly speaking, it is not a Dave Sitek solo project. Sure, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Scarlett Johansson producer is pulling all the strings (as he seems to do on many albums he produces), but the debut from this project is less a chance for him to take centerstage as it is an opportunity to color outside the lines required by his day jobs.
So, despite Sitek showing off his pipes on a cover of the Troggs’ “With a Girl Like You” on last year’s Dark Was the Night compilation, his own deep, dusky vocals are largely absent from these Maximum Balloon songs. Instead, he has called up old friends (like his TVOTR bandmates Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe) and new (singer Holly Miranda) to jam on tracks that are meant for the dancefloor, but will, most likely, never have to be played live.
The songs are, therefore, liberated from the shackles of needing to be recreated in real time, so Sitek can spackle on as many layers of noisy synthesizers as he likes, and he can gather an enviable group of singers to act as his mouthpiece, regardless of the fact that, logistically, they could never all be corralled for one big tour. The result is a dense, sultry collection that revels in the dissonance between its thick, synthesized arrangements and its emotive, earthy vocal performances. — Pitchfork
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