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4.1 out of 5 stars
22
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 24 September 2017
Not my cup of tea.. sorry
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on 10 July 2006
I've always been aware of TV On The Radio but, shamefully, have never listened to an album of theirs in earnest until this one, and it's a revelation. I know we're only halfway through 2006, but I was starting to think Ten Silver Drops by Secret Machines could not be beaten in the intelligent, inventive US rock stakes. Well, Return To Cookie Mountain is giving it a run for its money. This album is so rhythmically interesting as much as anything else; haunting, rocky, soulful in a way that comes close to the Afghan Whigs, which is a high compliment, and I also hear shades of the Psychedelic Furs too, which you don't often say, and plenty of early solo Peter Gabriel. Really well worth a listen if you prefer your rock music grown-up, spooky and questioning.
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on 31 January 2007
TV on the Radio aren't as an immediate band to get into as some reviews might have you believe. I loved their first EP Young Liars but found their debut LP 'Desperate Youth Blood Thirsty Babes' wearyingly oppressive and turgid and two-starred it in an unpopular Amazon review. I have given Return to Cookie Mountain more time, and whereas some of the heavy atmospherics can veer towards pretentious overload, there is more hookiness and focus to this recording. David Bowie is an obvious influence (in particular his underrated Outside) - and the great man himself appears on the excellent 'Province' - but it is fair to say that they have developed a distinctive sound of their own: the grimy, churning guitars, the soulful barbershop harmonies, the cavernous production.

The singular opener 'I Was A Lover', one of the album's best tracks, is also one of the hardest to describe, with its cut and paste aesthetic and falsetto vocal hook. Hours is moody and urban with a hint of Peter Gabriel, but gently swells into alt-rock territory. 'Playhouses' is all heavy distortion and fast-drumming that doesn't hold together as well, while 'Wolf Like Me' is the closest this album has to an anthem, with its melodic refrain of 'Howling... Forever' gradually emerging out of the fog of frenetic guitars. 'A Method' takes their penchant of barbershop harmonising to its most successful extreme while the swashbuckling, raucous 'Let the Devil In' displays the influence of the Pixies and Tom Waits. Dirtywhirl has more crossover appeal while the goth-tinged and darkly propulsive 'Blues From Down Here' could be The Sisters of Mercy. The atmospheric 'Tonight' bears a (probably unwitting) resemblance to prototype shoegazers A.R. Kane, for whom the term Oceanic was coined. The dissapointing closer 'Wash the Day', on the other hand, tries to throw everything into the mix for a climatic finale but is a bit of a mess. Lots to enjoy though, and a step in the right direction.
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TV on the Radio gave some serious reinvention to indie rock, with their debut "Desperate Youth Blood Thirsty Babes." Then they sort of dropped off for awhile, apparently to tinker with their future sound.

Well, "Return to Cookie Mountain" is an evolution of what they've done before -- the art-rock sound, the grimy electro, and the rough edges that don't need polishing.This isn't quite "there" enough to be their masterpiece, but TV on the Radio is definitely sounding wonderfully mature.

It starts off with the year's best intro -- drum beats, clashes, and an offbeat horn symphony that cuts itself off, before repeating again. As the jagged electronic beats come on, Tunde Adepimbe begins to croon, "I was a lover/before this war... I'm locked in my bedroom/so send back the clowns..." It's a bittersweet song with a warm, rich feeling.

The closest thing they have to typical rock is the heart-pounding "Wolf Like Me," with its howled bridges and eerie feeling, and the expansive, tinkling, explosive "Playhouses." There's also the rustling, stomping art-rock of "Let the Devil In," the swirling electro-rock, the soul-rock, and the epic bass-rock of the finale "Wash the Day Away."

Don't expect TV on the Radio to really rock out in "Return to Cookie Mountain," since they got recognition for their equally dense debut. The songs that follow are too grandiose, too looped, and too dense to be toe-tappers. The only real flaw is their tendency to sometimes neglect music in place of atmosphere -- although even their failures are fascinating.

And that atmosphere is of a dangerous, beautiful place -- campfires, tribal dances, wild animals and flying over mountains. The repetitive drums, bass and more typical instruments are loaded down with flutes, samples, electronic beats, mellotron, cymbals. It's all tangled into a series of loosely-strung, hypnotic melodies that seem to swirl around on themselves.

But the most hypnotic instrument is the vocals. Adepimbe can be deep and soulful, desperate howls, or higher and soaring; either way, he hasn't got the typical disinterested rock voice. And the jumbled, colourful lyrics are hard to make out at times, and eventually they simple become another repetitive pattern in the music.

TV on the Radio have one-upped themselves with "Return to Cookie Mountain," and yet there's a feeling of unfulfilled promise, hinting that they'll get even better as time goes on.
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on 23 April 2007
These guys are such an exciting group. On their last album they impressed with crazy production on great songs, leaving high expectations for the future. This album is fantastic. It lives up to all that anyone could have wanted from it. Eclectic, yet focused. Completely unlike any other band I've ever heard, and from what I've seen on youtube, a band with an incredible energy. I really don't need to argue my case more, except maybe for telling you to listen to 'Wolf Like Me'. I've only known the song a couple of months and it's firmly established itself as one of my all time favorites.
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on 8 February 2007
I just don't get the negative feedback for this. I've held off writing a review because it seemed so self-evident to me that this was a good album and I find it difficult to believe anyone can find that much wrong with it. 1 star - you just HAVE to be kidding don't you!

As it stand this is a great collection of songs fantastically performed. Original? Yes I'd say so though I'm not that much into Bloc Party that I actually bother to listen to them too much! As for this being one of the best albums of last year? Okay so this is always going to be contentious but you only have to look at the near universal presence of this album on end of year lists to believe that most critics/listeners can't be that wrong!

Great track to start with in "I Was A Lover" and this is continued with "Hours" next up. Undoubtedly the highlight (Wolf Like me) comes in the middle so if anything it does suffer from this being a premature high. But this track IS excellent - moves along like an express train but doesn't suffer from getting louder as it gets faster - a common fault. "Let The Devil In" is another stormer - I just don't get that it goes off completely after "Wolf". "Dirtywhirl" is another great track - if this is derivative please tell me from whom...I can't think of anything.

Overall this IS one of the best albums of last year - without doubt. It really has grown on me. Give it a chance and don't let the naysayers rule your life! (9/10)
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on 15 January 2008
I had heard of TV On The Radio before, and seen them on various critics'lists but I'd never given them a listen until about 3 weeks ago. TV On The Radio surrounds you with its rich, complex sound. I listened to both Return to Cookie Mountain and their debut and was initially drawn to the bassier, more 'bare' sound of their first LP but I realised I find the vocals and synths on RTCM make for, if not an immediately catchy, then a deeper, more layered album.

RTCM is like a good novel, in that there is a definite beginning: I Was A Lover, middle: Wolf Like Me, and end: Wash The Day. These are the tracks that stand out the most, but without Let the Devil In, and Dirtywhirl, there would be gaps in the plot. Playhouses is slammed by some as a disappointment in the way it builds up, but I enjoy the feeling of waiting for the song to arrive it creates, whether intended by the band or not.

I say, buy both albums and listen chronologically first, in order to appreciate how TOTR's sound has evolved, though I dont feel RTCM is necessarily better than Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, just possessing of a more complex sound.

Oh yes, and as to those Bloc Party fans crying, "Copycat!", I enjoy Bloc Party enough to have travelled across Germany to see them live, and I honestly believe TOTR is more complex, possessing of richer vocals, and more original than Bloc Party, despite Wolf Like Me's apparent similarity to Banquet.
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on 19 October 2007
There haven't been many truly great bands to have appeared this decade where the commercialism of music has been taken to an all time low, but TV On The Radio are certainly one of them. And Return To Cookie Mountain is so good, you get the feeling that in years to come it could be looked upon as their magnum opus. It's reminiscent of Radioheads OK Computer in the way that it is made from so many layers of instrumentation, sound effects and distortion to create a deep atmosphere that not very many albums can boast at all. It's also reminiscent of that album in its cryptic, metaphorical lyrics. It's a huge improvement on the last album Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes which felt a little too bare and under produced. Stand out tracks include Wolf Like Me, Province (Which features David Bowie), Tonight and the incredible closing track, Wash The Day. This album has been given almost unanimous critical praise from every publication you can think of, whatever you do, don't let it slip by!
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"Dear Science" was one of my favourite albums of 2008, and since then I've collected the rest of TV On The Radio's catalogue. "Return to Cookie Mountain" was "Dear Science"'s predecessor and shows that all of the ingredients were there, but they needed just a little more time to properly develop.

There are some superb songs here: The first six songs are absolutely excellent, "Province" featuring David Bowie being a stand-out, along with the album's most commercial moment "Wolf Like Me", and "Playhouses", which I adore but other reviewers here seem to hate. After "A Method" the album does struggle a little, as though after such an incredible start the band ran out of puff, but when the first half is an easy five stars and the second is three, an average of four stars is still pretty good.

A great record, but they were better the next time around.
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on 6 October 2015
This is the first album I have bought by this band. I love how every song sounds different and it keeps the overall sound of the album interesting. The vocals are also very unique and I like the dynamic of the group as a whole, they all bring something different to the music. The lyrics are also rather intriguing. Favourite tracks would definitely be Wolf Like Me and I Was A Lover. Very enjoyable album.
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