Review Summary: TV On The Radio blend all kinds of genres with a assload of fuzz on this incredible sophomore album. The CD has close to a dozen class tracks, each one sounding a little different from the next and just as good. Its rare when a follow-up CD does so much b3 of 5 thought this review was well written
The air is hot and humid, sticky with feedback and teaming with insects. Your heart pounds like the drums in a DJ Shadow song and your mind races, the sound hits you in a wave, that’s when you realize you’re not alone. You can make out a guitar, but more prominently the noisy sputtering of a distorted bass when all of a sudden you hear a voice. It’s deep and masculine, but soft and almost homosexual. The mysterious voice speaks in tongues and repeats phrases that you can barley make out, he speaks with a folk singer’s distinguished drawl. The music gets darker and fuzzier, becoming less of a sound and more of an environment. You run. A cold sweat moistens the back of your neck, you try to scream, but just find your self singing along.
Originally Posted by bad opening paragraph
My mind has changed
my bodys frame but god i like it
my hearts aflame
my bodys strained but god i like it
But don’t fear child. It’s not a nightmare that has taking control of your senses, its TV on the Radio’s brand new CD, entitled Return to Cookie Mountain.
TOTR are a heavily electronic experimental indie band, they broke onto to the scene with the incredibly monotonous yet excellent Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes to rave reviews and a small, but excitable fanbase. The new album is very much Bloodthirsty Babes 2, but it is also very much its own thing. The band discovers pop and melody for perhaps the first time on surprisingly soulful tracks like A Method and Blues From Down Here, but keep their depressing and dissonant feel. The music is heavy, but very minimalist. It is heavy more in content than style, with music forming tightly knit weaves and laying flat. TOTR’s musicians don’t necessarily play off one another, but more work together to get the most crushing sound possible. Nothing really stands out in the mix, even lead singer Tunde Adebimpe ’s voice can feel slightly muffled at times (except during the pub-from-space chorus to the cavernous Let the Devil In).
This is what makes this CD exceed TOTR’s debut so much, it has melody, substance and beauty and the band evolves itself from a squirming form of musical matter to what we hear on tracks like I Was A Lover. The difference is not to be seen instantly when the song is compared to Bloodthirsty’s hit Staring at the Sun, but its there. I Was a Lover is based on sad and lonely break beat that appears the second the album opens up. The beat is soon joined by jangly atmospheric guitars and detached and extremely depressing brass section that is pure trip-hop and awesome to the core. Tunde immediately does his best to break the vocal mold he fell into on Blood Thirsty. It is easy to notice how much more emotion he puts out on this record. He also takes advantage of the strangeness and melodic qualities hidden in his voice, as opposed to droning on and making up for it in the music. The lyrics seem to be a bit of continuation of the strange and often war torn stories told on the first album and make each song all the better.
TV On the Radio is one damn mysterious band. They have slow almost glacial build-ups and sketchy post-punk choruses. Their music can sometimes be catchy and other times devoid of all feeling. The band thrives on dank and depressing fodder, there music is very bass heavy, using guitarist, David Sitek’s steady hand to add some treble to a deep pit of music or just as an atmospheric pulse to the song. Each tune has its own feel, from the dance rock of Wolf Like Me to the trippy indie balladry of Provinces. Every listen through the CD’s smorgasbord of indie rock mastery has me believing it’s the last time, but like a manic disease, a smoking habit or a particularly annoying ex-girlfriend I always go back. Return to Cookie Mountain is as calming as it is catastrophic and easily would make my top 5 of 06 list. TV on the Radio, once thought of as the next big experimenters in indie, have shut all traceable outside influences and created a masterpiece that drips in everything from jazz and blues to stone cold electronica and punk rock. As Tony the Tiger might say “a GRRRREEEEAT” record. 4.5/5