One of the things musicians TV on the Radio do so well on “Return to Cookie Mountain” that they failed to do on “Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes,” is find a perfect way to present the band’s shambolic mix of poetry, New Wave, electro sampling and guitar by simply not caring. Each track is a single and zeroes in on an experiment.
The harmonies on “Tonight” are imperfect and the only music they have to accompany them is the distortion squall in a distant space and metallic percussion. Wind chimes are twinkled into the monitor on “A Method” against a thick bass and group whistling, which evokes a frightening vision of dawn. The wretched vocal plea of “Dirtywhirl” finds salvation in ethereal keys, while the surprisingly straightforward “Playhouses” is a catchy Bo Diddley-esque freak-jam.
Finally, the most forward-thinking act in alternative music has released a disc that will spin its way into the realm of year-end lists.
– Danny Marroquin