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TV on the Radio:: Return to Cookie Mountain (Album Review)

Brooklyn’s TVOTR were courted by David Bowie after he heard their 2004 debut, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes. He stuck with them: as well as advising them to release their own anti-Bush song online, he turns up here on the memorable ‘Province’, which sounds more like the galaxy expanding than a conventional pop song.

The band – ex-film student Tunde Adebimpe (who once worked as an illustrator on MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch), visual artist David Sitek (who has a trend-popping CV featuring production for Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Liars) and electric-haired Kyp Malone – are natural Bowie allies: they’re experimental and summon the spirit of Spiritualized, Lee Perry, the Beach Boys and Radiohead into a glorious, life-affirming entity. The latter reference is particularly relevant – if only to mention the knowing title of the group’s debut EP, ‘OK Calculator’.

Return to Cookie Mountain, which was recorded ad hoc at Sitek’s New York studio over 12 months, is a warmer, more linear record than their debut, dissolving and expanding through occasionally irritating production (how wonderful could they sound with a producer who wasn’t in the band?) into moments of fabulous surrender. And they’re one of few groups who could toss a word like ‘unconjoined’ into their lyrics without sounding like tossers.

When the band decide to propel their songs forwards they even come close to the kind of indie-pop that has been fuelling dancefloors everywhere this decade. ‘Wolf Like Me’, which features Celebration’s Katrina Ford, might slow down in the middle – this is TVOTR and there must be a twist – but it is after-midnight mayhem incarnate. Spellbinding, frustrating, wonderful. (Review by: Emma Warren, Guardian UK)