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TV on the Radio

Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope / 4AD)

Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Sept. 15, 2006

ACL Music Fest Reviews

TV on the Radio

Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope/4AD)

"I was a lover before this war." It's with this that TV on the Radio's sophomore LP drops to its knees. The Brooklyn quintet's obviously matured since 2004's Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes because Return to Cookie Mountain is essentially a protest album. Opener "I Was a Lover" drops with a simple beat and horn sample before Tunde Adebimpe's falsetto rings clear and bright. Guitar feedback gives the song a golden sheen, but nevertheless, Adebimpe spits: "We're sleepwalking through this trial, and it's really a crime." "Playhouses" is full of dreamy vocals and a synth/guitar/drum trinity that gives communion to effervescent squall. Standout "Wolf Like Me" is glorious with its harmonies and final eruption of dance rapture, and "Dirtywhirl" is another classic, both soulful and bombastic, guitarist Kyp Malone and Adebimpe's respective low and high end sparking like downed wires. "Blues From Down Here" feels grimy, though the sax bleats sound sublime, and then: "Never inquire how to be free. Just stay on your knees." Three bonus tracks are tacked on as previously released B-sides and a remix, but the 11 tracks before prove TVotR is peerless, and Cookie Mountain is a manifesto for now, in a world which seems to be perpetually burning. (Saturday, 4pm, Austin Ventures stage)

***.5

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