September 21, 2006

A Sound All Its Own

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Intricate and experimental are the only way to describe TV on the Radio. The band’s first full-length, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, created some waves on the indie scene – and deservedly so. The album was a melting pot of instruments and sounds that strangely worked well together. The band’s major label debut, Return To Cookie Mountain, is a monumental piece of work. Although the band is and will often be categorized as indie, their incredible talent lends itself to many other genres, including jazz, bouts of hip-hop, and large doses of experimental rock. Because of this, few of their songs are similar.
The opening track, “I Was a Lover,” is a slow-paced electronic driven song with an R&B vibe — a simple piece to introduce the album. Return To Cookie Mountain really begins with “Hours” though, a showcase of drums placed with lead singer Tunde Adebimbe’s distinctive vocals. The first four tracks all give justice to what TV on the Radio is capable of, but these songs only lead up to the one track that deserves to be on repeat, “Wolf Like Me.” The track is filled with energy from beginning to end; quite honestly, this track is the closest thing to perfect. A heavy pounding, courtesy of drummer Jaleel Bunton, pushes the song along with the psychedelic guitar escapades. Most notably though are the vocals yet again, Adebimbe carefully places every syllable with a rapid beat to complete the song. The speed from “Wolf Like Me” quickly cuts off into a soft whistle, which flows into the beginning of the next track, “A Method.” This track is hymn-like ballad full of dual-vocals and a gradual progression that again goes back to the whistling heard at the beginning. The album slows down with the melancholic “Tonight,” an unusually simple piece that concentrates on Adebimbe’s monologue-like vocals with occasional wind instruments placed with background electronics. A predominantly instrumental bonus track, “Things You Can Do,” closes the album with a unique jazz sound.
TV on the Radio’s Return To Cookie Mountain is a solid album from an undoubtedly talented group. It seems that the band has attacked numerous genres and used a plethora of instruments in doing so to create this memorable album. After hearing the band’s progression from their previous release, I’m anxious to hear what this band will come up with in the future.