TV on the Radio’s better moments have always been funk-inflected. Dear Science (2008) had its own late-night, urban funkiness, at its sharpest on tracks like “Golden Age” and “Dancing Choose.” So it’s not much of a surprise that the dark boogie of “Will Do,” the leading single from the Brooklyn quintet’s upcoming album, Nine Types of Light, keeps the jive alive. This time, though, Kyp Malone and co. tone things down from their more unchained or electrified moments — the erupting coda of breakout hit “Wolf Like Me,” for example — and manage to emerge all the better for it.

TV on the Radio

“Will Do”
Nine Types of Light

A portrait of the love ballad circa 2011, the track starts with a sparse, post-dubstep backbeat that echoes James Blake in all his lovelorn minimalist glory. With Malone’s vocals pushed the front, producer/guitarist Dave Sitek perfectly tempers subtle strings and chiming vibraphone against the locked-in groove of driving bass and double-time hi-hats. But unlike more texturally self-indulgent stretches elsewhere — ahem, Radiohead — “Will Do” is the rare modern single that neither demands immediate respect nor overstays its welcome. A classically constructed pop song that earns every second of its just-under four minutes, “Will Do” captures a group at the peak of its powers, unafraid to use tried-and-true forms to sound present.

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