Record > MusicMaximum Balloon: Maximum Balloon
With the possible exception of LCD Soundsystem's This Is Happening and Janelle Monáe's The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III), the self-titled debut album by art-hag electro-popper Maximum Balloon — otherwise known as TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek — is the most fun you'll have listening to any record this year. Sitek's arrangements on Maximum Balloon may lack the rhythmic heft of TV on the Radio's best songs, but he makes up for it with sparkling Euro-trance synths, chicken-scratch guitars, and an aura of danceable jubilance. "Groove Me" works ethereal wonders, and "If You Return" boasts a devastating vocal by synth-happy Swede Yukimi Nagan. Many songs — like the swirling "Absence of Light," featuring TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe — are multilayered but never cluttered. Maximum Balloon is for anyone who likes pop music with an electro pulse. But more than that, it's for anyone who likes pop music with energy.