A Planet of Sound
TV on the Radio’s Return To Cookie Mountain is the major-label debut of a band championing mood and atmosphere over single-member showcases (i.e., guitar/drum solos, flamboyant front-persons and over-the-top theatrics). The result is an intricately layered world of sound for all to get lost in â€šÃ„Ã¬ every second of it a highlight. The opener, â€šÃ„ÃºI Was A Lover,â€šÃ„Ã¹ displays some of the best noise-sculpturing since My Bloody Valentineâ€šÃ„Ã´s Loveless while beginning Return to Cookie Mountain on a challenging, yet delicate note. The thunderous single, “Wolf Like Me,” is an indie rock wall of sound where tremulous guitars, bass and lower-register synthesizers create such a sonic environment that Tunde Adebimpe’s vocals blend in as if they were another instrument, a nuance that envelops the listener in the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s world.
The majority of the album’s eleven tracks majestically set out for the development of sonic space rather than cramming the songs full of notes with solos and time changes. Listeners can get lost in the aural onslaught of â€šÃ„ÃºLet the Devil In,â€šÃ„Ã¹ the driving melancholia of â€šÃ„ÃºHours,â€šÃ„Ã¹ the majestic â€šÃ„ÃºTonight,â€šÃ„Ã¹ the heavenly â€šÃ„ÃºProvince,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and the epically serene, shoegazing â€šÃ„ÃºWash the Day Away.” Beneath this sonic environment one finds Adebimpe’s poetic, artful and often Peter Gabriel-esque lyrics, such as his call against complacency, “Lessen your desire / Hold your breath so patiently / Never inquire how to be free / Just stay on your knees” from “Blues From Down Here.â€šÃ„Ã¹
Though Return to Cookie Mountain may avoid pop hooks and choruses, it will invite repeated listens because of the environment each track creates. Like watching a Fellini film or looking at a Dali painting, TV on the Radio’s oeuvre inspires exploration. Each spin of this disc brings a new experience, further revealing one of the highlights of 2006.