One of the strangest and most intriguing bands in Brooklyn has now become one of the biggest. Just ask the thousands who welcomed the group to an overflowing show at Prospect Park a few weeks back. The event played out like some sort of a futuristic tribal soul shakedown, and though the crowd had never even heard half the material performed, even the moderately curious folks in the back appeared to walk away impressed. TV on the Radio are poised to have a lot more people take notice — whenever it is their record comes out.
Return to Cookie Mountain has been floating around for quite some time now; the internet’s indie cognoscenti picked up the leaked record a few months back, and lucky folks in Europe can now grab it from the 4AD label, but due to TVOTR’s move from the iconic indie label Touch and Go to Interscope, delays have come up pushing the actual release date further and further back (as far as we can tell it should finally hit shelves in the U.S. on August 1). So, is it worth the wait? Yes. And how.
Lead vocalist Tunde Adebimpe possesses an incredibly versatile vocal range that, while refreshingly devoid of any affectations, still manages to defy the expectations of “normal” rock music. Guitarist and local scene hero Kyp Malone’s falsetto harmonies are just as vital, giving the songs a timeless otherworldly feel and creating some sort of interplanetary soul music that’s both familiar and foreign. At times the band still sounds like it’s covering a lost Peter Gabriel record, but the heavier focus on percussive syncopation this time around helps to cement the original aspects of their sound. It also doesn’t hurt that the songwriting has been elevated from inspired to downright inspiring.
Whether it’s the hypnotic vocal and drum interplay of the sing-songy ‘A Method’ or the filthy dance thump of ‘Wolf Like Me’, just about every track has its memorable moments. The muchhyped collaboration with guest vocalist and TVOTR super-fan David Bowie on ‘Province’ not only elevates the band into a world previously occupied by Queen and Bing Crosby, but also results in a beautiful and haunting track whose simple piano hook is as powerful as its superstar accoutrement.
Suffice to say, the list goes on, with every track leaving its own indelible mark.
Producer and band member David Sitek has crafted a staggeringly unique sounding record that overflows with musical epiphanies, and Return to Cookie Mountain pulses with an energy that we’ve heard on very few records in recent
years. Keep your ears open and hope the release date doesn’t get pushed back any further — it would be sort of odd if the best record of the year
wasn’t actually released this year.