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Return to Cookie Mountain

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Album Review

As passionate as ever, but with a little more polish, TV on the Radio give their unapologetically ambitious sound room to breathe with a lush, expansive production on Return to Cookie Mountain. The sonic depth throughout the album is a sharp contrast with the density of their first full-length, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, which was so jam-packed with sounds and ideas that it was nearly suffocated by them. However, Return to Cookie Mountain is hardly slick or dumbed down for mass consumption. In fact, the opening track, "I Was a Lover," is one of the band's most challenging songs yet, mixing a stuttering hip-hop beat with guitars of Loveless proportions and juxtaposing inviting vocal harmonies and horns with glitches and trippy sitars. "Playhouses" is only slightly less radical, with its wildly syncopated drumming and Tunde Adepimbe's layered, impassioned singing. At times, Return to Cookie Mountain threatens to become more impressive than likable — a complaint that could arguably be leveled against Desperate Youth as well — but fortunately, TV on the Radio reconnect with, and build on, the intimacy and purity that made Young Liars so striking. David Bowie's backing vocals on "Province" are only one part of the song's enveloping warmth, rather than its focal point, while the album's centerpiece, "A Method," is another beautiful example of the band's haunting update on doo wop. Meanwhile, the mention of "the needle/the dirty spoon" on "Tonight" cements it as a gorgeous but unsettling urban elegy. As with all their other work, on Return to Cookie Mountain TV on the Radio deal with the fallout of living in a post-9/11 world; politics and morality are still touchstones for the band, particularly on the anguished "Blues from Down Here" and "Hours," on which Adepimbe urges, "Now listen to the truth." Notably, though, the album builds on the hopeful, or at least living-for-the-moment, vibe that emerged at the end of Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes. The sexy, funky "Wolf Like Me," which is the closest the album gets to rock in any conventional sense of the term, and "Dirtywhirl," which spins together images of girls and hurricanes, offer erotic escapes. And by the time the epic final track, "Wash the Day," revisits the sitars that opened the album with a serene, hypnotic groove, Return to Cookie Mountain gives the most complete representation of the hopes, joys, and fears within TV on the Radio's music.

Customer Reviews

Potential fulfilled

When I first heard TVOTR's first album "Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes", I thought that they showed a lot of potential. Tracks like "Dreams" and "King Eternal" proved that they were capable of brilliance, but the album as a whole wasn't overly convincing. However, with this album they have added a couple of members and have truly become a band with a much more definite sound. This time it is "all killer no filler" with tracks on par with "King Eternal" being a regular occurence. The album begins with "I Was A Lover" which has a beautiful beat and a very gentle break-down with piano. Single "Wolf Like Me" epitomizes the record: TV On The Radio sound like a convincing victory, with unrelenting beats, and singer Tunde Adebimpe's fantastic voice. This is a must-buy. The best album of the first half of the year!

done it again

can't wait to see 'em live.

Just Do It!!!

Again this is another smack in the face album... I can't say enough good about these guys... always full of suprises and a unique sound! Dont hesitate on this one... Just buy it! Wolf like me is a song that hits you right between the eyes!

Biography

Formed: 2001 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

From their beginnings as Brooklyn-based experimenters to one of the most acclaimed bands of the 2000s and 2010s, TV on the Radio mixed post-punk, electronic, and other atmospheric elements in vibrantly creative ways, and are both visual artists as well as musicians. The group began when multi-instrumentalist/producer David Andrew Sitek moved into the building where vocalist Tunde Adebimpe had a loft; each of them had been recording music on his own, but realized their sounds worked well together....
Full Bio

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