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Return to Cookie Mountain [Bonus Tracks]
     

Return to Cookie Mountain [Bonus Tracks]

4.4 7
by TV on the Radio
 

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TV on the Radio's Return to Cookie Mountain, their second full-length and their major-label debut, opens with a sparse trip-hop beat, some droning horns, and a distant sitar -- or maybe they are all keyboard-generated sounds. It's hard to tell, and that's one of the enticing qualities of this impressive album. "I was a lover, before this war," croons Tunde

Overview

TV on the Radio's Return to Cookie Mountain, their second full-length and their major-label debut, opens with a sparse trip-hop beat, some droning horns, and a distant sitar -- or maybe they are all keyboard-generated sounds. It's hard to tell, and that's one of the enticing qualities of this impressive album. "I was a lover, before this war," croons Tunde Adebimpe amid blasts of staticky white noise that build to a dense wall of sound by song's end. One can trace the roots of "I Was a Lover" to Massive Attack, Public Enemy, and My Bloody Valentine, but ultimately it sounds solely like TVOTR: confident, challenging, and completely engrossing. Steeped in political indignation, Return to Cookie Mountain is musically adventurous, from the stuttering electronics of "Playhouses" to the thumping synth-pop base of "Wolf like Me" to the parade band march of "Let the Devil In." But the vocals, primarily Adebimpe with Kyp Malone on falsetto harmonies (although David Bowie drops in to help out on "Province"), make the Brooklyn quintet truly special: These guys love doo-wop as much as hip-hop as much as indie rock, and Adebimpe swoops, slurs, and chants like an otherworldly gospel singer. Cookie Mountain isn't an easy listen on the surface, but the depths of its rewards seem bottomless.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
As passionate as ever, but now with a little more polish, TV on the Radio's second album (and Interscope debut), Return to Cookie Mountain, is their most satisfying work since they exploded onto the scene with Young Liars. More than some of their indie rock peers, TV on the Radio seems comfortable on a major label. They've always been a band with a big, unapologetically ambitious sound, and on Return to Cookie Mountain, they give that sound room to breathe with a lush, expansive production. 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 likeable -- a complaint that could also arguably be leveled against Desperate Youth as well -- but fortunately, TV on the Radio reconnects with, and builds 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 deals 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. [The CD was also released with bonus tracks.]
Entertainment Weekly - Greg Kot
A dystopian soundtrack in the tradition of art-of-noise classics by David Bowie (Scary Monsters), Radiohead (OK Computer), and Tricky (Pre-Millennium Tension). (A-)
The Guardian - Alexis Petridis
A new-found clarity and confidence are all over Return to Cookie Mountain.... Frontman Tunde Adebimpe is revealed to have a fantastic voice.... Return to Cookie Mountain is largely a delight - an experimental album with a pop heart that avoids self-indulgence.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/12/2006
Label:
Interscope Records
UPC:
0602517056176
catalogNumber:
000746602
Rank:
68195

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

TV on the Radio   Primary Artist
David Bowie   Vocals
Chris Taylor   Clarinet,Horn
Kazu Makino   Vocals
Ryan Sawyer   Drums
Colin Stetson   Horn
Stuart Bogie   Horn
Jeremy Wilms   Cello
Katrina Ford   Vocals
David Andrew Sitek   Synthesizer,Bass,Flute,Guitar,Keyboards,Sampling,Group Member
Tunde Adebimpe   Percussion,Vocals,Group Member
Kyp Malone   Bass,Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Jaleel Bunton   Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Choir, Chorus,fender rhodes,Pianette,Group Member
Martin Perna   Flute,Horn,Baritone Saxophone
Chris Moore   Theremin
Eric Biondo   Horn
Gerard Smith   Organ,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Electric Sitar,Group Member

Technical Credits

Chris Taylor   Horn Arrangements
Vaughan Oliver   Art Direction
Marco Atkins   Images
El-P   Producer
David Andrew Sitek   Producer,drum programming
Tunde Adebimpe   Art Direction,Illustrations
Chris Coady   Engineer
Chris Moore   Engineer
Brooke Gillespie   Intern
Sara Newkirk   Management
Amirah Noaman   Management

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