A band's second album has always been the true test of musicianship, and guess who just passed the test? The Young Liars EP was a perfect entrance for TV on the Radio. By releasing only a 20 minute taster of their urban-barbershop sound, they left people begging for more. "Staring at the Sun" was a great first listen for me. The slow build drew me in, and the vocals nearly knocked me over. At this point, that day is ancient history; however, TVOR have been patient with their songwriting and in turn have reaped the benefits.
Return to Cookie Mountain is not a departure from Desperate Youth, but instead an expansion of its musical boundaries. Desperate Youth is the foundation on which Cookie Mountain was built. As I stated earlier, the album is jammed packed with sound, which on first listen felt slightly overwhelming. However, once more through the disc, and I felt comfortable submerged in the fuzz. A song like "Playhouses" is a prime example of how TVOR create a driving force from the static. The constant drone keeps the song very linear, and leaves the listener focused on the track. "Province" is one of my favorite tracks on the album, due mostly to the chorus, and its subtle uses of sound. I love how the swelling synth elevates the vocals. Beautiful.
Judging from the production found on all three TVOR releases (I know there is a fourth but I've never heard it), it is clear the band have a high regard for vocals. This is where my "urban barbershop" comment fits in. The vocals are way out in front on almost every song, and singer, Tunde Adebimpe, enjoys using a cappella styling to accentuate the production. While barbershop is synonymous with clean cut gentlemen wearing candy red, Tunde makes it his own by adding more grit and heart to the delivery. In order to prove my point I have added "Mr. Grieves" at the bottom.
For the love of Art please buy this album people.
[mp3] TV on the Radio - Province
[mp3] TV on the Radio - Mr. Grieves
09/15 - Dallas, TX @ Gypsy Tea Room & Ballroom
09/16 - Austin, TX @ Zilker Park
09/17 - Austin, TX @ Emo's Austin
09/19 - Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre
09/24 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
09/25 - San Diego, CA @ Soma
09/26 - Pomona, CA @ Glass House
09/27 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Soho Restaurant & Music Club
09/29 - Sacramento, CA @ The Library
09/30 - Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheater
10/02 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
10/03 - Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
10/04 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox Showroom & Lounge
10/07 - Fargo, ND @ Playmakers
10/08 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/09 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
10/10 - Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
10/12 - Toronto, ON @ Opera House Concert Venue
10/13 - Montreal, QC @ Le National
10/14 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
10/17 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
10/18 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
10/20 - Baltimore, MD @ Sonar Lounge
10/21 - Philadelphia, PA @ Starlight Lounge