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Return to Cookie Mountain

TV on the Radio

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iTunes Review

By turns aggressive and elusive, abrasive and romantic, Return to Cookie Mountain is an anthem for uneasy times. From the heartsick horn sample that kicks off “I Was a Lover” to “Wash the Day”’s sitars, car bombs, and diamond-encrusted guns, this Brooklyn quintet conjures a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape, then surveys the sonic ruins. The stunning, propulsive “Wolf Like Me” makes vampires look like sissies, while “Dirtywhirl” conflates hurricanes, the Hindu goddess Durga, and “the flesh of a girl.” Tunde Adebimpe’s steely tenor has been compared to Peter Gabriel’s, but it’s more expressive than that. On tracks like the hard-driving dirge “Blues from Down Here,” he sounds like nothing so much as the late Arthur Lee from Love: supple, menacing, and a trifle unhinged. With Kyp Malone’s eerie falsetto harmonies ringing over the top, the effect is part futuristic doo-wop, part dystopian Beach Boys. Buzzing post-punk guitars and ambient drone, live drums and stuttering processed beats: the arrangements are layered and dense, and the musical influences come fast and furious. By all rights, the whole thing should fly apart, but instead Return to Cookie Mountain achieves a counterpoint as savage as the Mad-Max world it surveys. There’s no one else making music quite like this.

Customer Reviews

TVOTR's sophomore effort does not disappoint

TVOTR has been criticized for being possibly too ambitious in their sound, and though a few tracks do threaten to buckle under their own sonic weight, on the whole this record is fantastic. The single Wolf Like Me is the most infectious indie rock single of the year thus far, boasting a shouted, mantra-like vocal melody, a rollicking and slightly off-kilter drumbeat, and a cool-down interlude just long enough to give you a breather before exploding again. The overall sound is more cohesive than the debut record, and there is enough complexity in the layers of sound to keep you listening over and over.

I contribute to the hype

I was generally skeptical about the hype surrounding this album, but once I heard the oddly clipped horns that start "I Was A Lover," I couldn't resist it. I have a huge collection (500+ albums), and I rarely end up listening to the same thing twice in a week, much less in a day, but this album has been in constant rotation since it came out. Yeah, it has a stupid name, and yeah, it's one of those albums that it's cool to rave about, but this one really deserves it. It never gets boring. Each song is better than the last, and the style changes over the course of the album, starting out with something like a modernized version of 70s funk, and gradually transforming it into lush indie rock. Plus, David Bowie does guest vocals on "Province."

I HATE...

...the fact that the iTunes music store gives 14 year olds the opportunity to be music critics. Unless it's the 30 year olds who can't spell worth a damn. Anyway, that's neither here nor there. This record is exceptional. Make yourself happy.

Biography

Formed: 2001 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Brooklyn-based group TV on the Radio mix post-punk, electronic, and other atmospheric elements in such a creative way that it only makes sense that their core duo, vocalist Tunde Adebimpe and multi-instrumentalist/producer David Andrew Sitek, are both visual artists as well as musicians. Adebimpe is a graduate of NYU's film school and specializes in stop-motion animation, which his Brothers Quay-like video for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs single...
Full Bio

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