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TV On The Radio / Return To Cookie Mountain

26-Sep-2006 08:36 pm Contributed by: pete Music Reviews
11 Track CD + 3 Extra Tracks
Label: Interscope Records or MySpace
Listen Listen to Dirtywhirl
Enema Rating:

It's amazing how long you can go without hearing music that is causing such a buzz in the music industry. Critics have been heaping on the praise for TV On The Radio's latest effort Return To Cookie Mountain. And with so many positive reviews, the question needs to be asked: Why haven't I heard this yet? For me, it's been on my list, and I only just got to it. For others, there may be a good reason why you haven't heard TV On The Radio just yet. The music on this 11 track CD is a very unique piece of work, crafted out of experimental beats and sounds, that makes it a challenging listen. And mainstream radio stations don't regularly seek out challenging material. This music challenges current trends in independent and alternative music, and in turn challenges your synapses to the ultimate battle: interesting versus likeable. It can't possibly be both, can it?

The CD starts out with a strange beat, sampled horns, jarring synthesizer, and fuzzy guitar. For a first track, it certainly is interesting, but possibly falling a little too far on the experimental side. But it has a purpose. It acts as an acclimatizer for the rest of the album, forcing you through mental adjustment that is required to get through the entire album the first time. Beyond the first song, there are a number of tracks that offer minimalistic melodies, with an assortment of sounds and parts, all played with with significant reverb. Many songs are based on unconventional beats, unfamiliar vocal melodies, atmospheric sounds, and the compositions are idiosyncratic.

I suspect the demographic that will enjoy this album the most is the relatively small group of critics, bloggers, and music enthusiasts that thrive on the unusual. Which means songs like Province, Let The Devil In, and Playhouses are not likely to be embraced by the general public. But who really knows, ground-breaking material does sometimes break ground. So, as many have done before me, I'm about to give this CD a high rating, mostly based on TV On The Radio's ability to execute so well on such a unique idea. That, and the feeling I get out of some of the more accessible tracks, such as Dirtywhirl, a song that I couldn't stop playing while writing this review. My addiction to it grows with each listen. Other key tracks are Wolf Like Me and Hours.

As is often the case with innovative music, it takes a few listens to fully appreciate it. The first time I heard Flotation Toy Warning, it seemed a little too ambitious, but there was something that kept bring me back to it, and now I'm accustomed to its sound. Now in 2006, I consider it one of the 10 best albums released in 2005. TV On The Radio evokes the same initial response in me. On first examination, it seems a little too ambitious, a little too experimental, but I feel compelled to listen again. And then again. Will this CD end up in my list of top albums for 2006? I can't tell you yet, but it sure has a chance.

TV On The Radio plays The Opera House in Toronto on October 12th.


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TV On The Radio / Return To Cookie Mountain
Authored by: Anonymous on 28-Sep-2006 09:03 pm
For me, the best of 2006 thus far. Don't dismiss their melodic ability so readily - beneath those bleeps, twirps and distortion lies some extraordinarly catch hooks. I'm convinced some of that has to do with the gospel infulence. I will admit, I do miss some of the dub beats from "Desperate Youths, Bloodthursty Babes", but this still stands as a classic in my mind.
They will fucking slay the Opera House on the 12th. Does that make me bias?