Tuesday, March 14, 2006

album review: tv on the radio- return to cookie mountain.

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what happens when my favorite indie band jumps ship to the same record label as dr. dre? they get weirder, that's what. tv on the radio, ever since the release of young liars, has been one of my favorite bands. in fact, they're probably my number three favorite band of all-time, following radiohead and modest mouse. with all due respect to the aforementioned bands, tv on the radio is unlike anything i've ever heard in my life. when people ask what they sound like, that's usually my answer. the closest thing i can compare them to is "kid a-era radiohead, only weirder." needless to say when i read that my third-favorite band of all time was planning to release a new album in 2006, a ridiculous sense of anticipation came over me. when i read they jumped ship to interscope with their bff's yeah yeah yeahs, i became happy that they might actually recieve the widespread acclaim they deserve. when i found their new album online, being the greedy internet pirate that i am, i had to listen to it. plus, i have an obligation as an amateur music journalist to provide an exclusive review of another fantastic masterpiece.

track one. "playhouses":
the song starts out like "new health rock," only faster and more sinister. i could see the scenester kids jumping up and down, banging their heads furiously with the tight rhythm section. a little more than halfway through the song, the band slows down the tempo. and then, kicks back into the beat with the fuzz bass. oh, and the saxaphones are a nice touch. reminiscent of the opener for desperate youth, bloodthirsty babes, "the wrong way."

track two. "i was a lover":
the song starts out with a faux-hip-hop beat, a little bit of guitar, and an orchestral sample. tunde and kyp come in with the falsettos. then, by the "chorus," distorted guitars that sound kind of like the bustle of traffic, take over the song. followed by a fantastic second verse, and a piano bridge, and everything comes to a climactic end.

track three. "province":
a bouncy drumbeat. a two-note guitar line. more falsettos. then, the verse kicks in with a very memorable melody. and by the chorus- DAVID FUCKING BOWIE! not to mention a very atmopheric climax. then, the piano kicks into the second verse. i have to note that the addition of the piano, which reminds me of the piano sound on so many of the walkmen's records, is a spectacular sound to add to these records.

track four. "snakes and martyrs":
on this track, the drums sound less isolated than on desperate youth. however, the melody and the harmonies sound like they would be right at home on their first album. on the second verse, there is a single piano note that adds a little bit of texture to the already atmospheric track.

track five. "wolf like me":
the song starts out with a distorted sound clash that's not too dissonant, with tunde and kyp's trademark harmonies. then, the drums kick in, and it reminds me of something similar to a hip-hop version of matt from bloc party's fantastic drumming. although i haven't talked about the lyrics on any song yet, it seems as though the prinicple lyricists (tunde and kyp) are as strong as anything on their previous releases: "beneath the cigarettes and the sugar, shit and the alcohol breath, i could taste the ocean on your tongue."

track six. "tonight":
the drums sound like something that would go on an animal collective record. yes, like a drum circle. dave's guitar is pushed into the background to make for the vocals (which sound like four or five people singing during the verses, and screaming during the chorus), the drums, and the hummable bassline.

track seven. "dirty whirlwind":
starting out sounding like something you would hear at closing time at the bar (floating bassline, tambourine, and a fantastic keyboard line), and then going into the most singable melody on the album thus far, this song should be the first single.

track eight. "a method":
very minimalist, with just a bassline, tunde's voice, and some chimes in the distance. then, the bassline kicks in, and so does more tambourine. when the "ooh ooh ooh's" kick in, so does the atmospheric guitar sound. then, for the second verse, 808 drums breeze their way into the song. this song reminds me of what it might feel like to be floating in the sky after a long night of drinking. after the second iteration of the chorus, it sounds like there is a clarinet melody. beneath that, you can hear tunde whistling. then, towards the end, you can hear the 808's and a bunch of atmospheric sounds.

track nine. "let the devil in":
claps and whistles are heard as the track fades in. then, tunde starts singing, and a marching band pattern kicks in. then, voices and the fuzz bass sing the same melody. "there is hardly a method you know" is the refrain that you hear before everything fades out, and the drums kick back in. i can hardly write anything, because i'm too busy listening to the song. there is some wonderful harmonizing, and then, the whistles and the claps take the track to its end.

track ten. "blues from down here":
a sinister synth/bass line, and a shuffle-type beat. almost industrial rock. i'm too busy listening again to write anything more about this song. it's amazing, just like all of the rest of them.

track eleven. "wash the day away":
lots of distortion, and a simple drum beat that the pixies could have used on one or more songs. this track has almost an anthemic sound to it. i could almost imagine it being played in a stadium. then, after a VERY anthemic climax, the song burns out, and you're left with the ashes and the simmering. exceptional closing track.

so, noone's really sure if this is going to be what the album actually sounds like, and the guys in tvortr might change up the tracklisting or add a song or two, just to fuck with us. all i have to say that if THIS is the finished product, it's going to be album of the year on a lot of lists in december. including mine. this is an instant classic. another spellbinding masterpiece from one of america's best bands.

essential tracks: pick any one. seriously.


Blogger Todd said...

Hey, like many of the bastards out there that already downloaded the eleven tracks available via your choice of P2P software, I must say I love the new stuff. Although I've only been a fan of TV on the Radio for about 3 or 4 years (Since a buddy of mine played them for me one afternoon smoking a little somethin somethin) I think they have a grasp on an original sound that keeps you intrigued. In all honesty, I think my least favorite track is "Blues from Down Here". I bought Desparate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes and I also plan to buy Return to Cookie Mountain

1:42 PM  
Blogger jon jon said...

the record is amazing, love "Playhouses", "I Was a Lover", "Tonight", "A Method"...oh yeah the whole record is the shiT!

4:00 PM  
Blogger The Maxx said...

This record is greater than Greatness. every time I listen to it I love even more this band.

I was kind of freaked out when i read "in fact, they're probably my number three favorite band of all-time, following radiohead and modest mouse", cause i can't help loving Modest Mouse and anything Isaac Brock does (i mean ugly casanova). I just needed to comment about my total agreement whit you.

(No need to say that radiohead is great too)

6:12 PM  
Blogger skot said...

Without a lyric sheet and just going by what I can make out, I think 'Dirty Whirlwind' is about a) cunnilingus, or b) a fart. Whatever it is, that song is NASTY.

Seriously though, 'A Method' is gorgeous.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I'm dying to hear this record...when is it being released? Amazon only lists a $26 import version...

10:49 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

It's only an import version because they are undecided on when it will be released in America. Which means could be never. Buy the import

7:35 AM  

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