(Photo by vancaj)
It's funny how some labels have a house sound. Obviously, I'm not talking about speciality labels like Trojan, neither am I decrying (worthy though that would be) the homogeonisation of mainstream pop by the timid and populist major labels. I'm really thinking about 4AD here: looking back over the roster, it's amazing how many bands fit the 4AD style, with it's shimmering guitars, vague and almost distant vocals, and huge, fascinating drum beats. Cocteau Twins immediately spring to my mind as the epitome of this, but His Name Is Alive? This Mortal Coil? Pale Saints? Even Blonde Redhead.
What has struck me recently is how TV On The Radio seem to have graduated into this style as well. Their first album was more raucous than their latest somehow, playing more on the frenetic funk and Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone's unique vocal interplay. But even here you can hear the glistering guitars, a beautiful maelstrom of increasing overdrive.
On Return To Cookie Mountain though (a record, and to some extent, a band that has passed me by until recently), this is even more pronounced, opening track I Was A Lover acting like a statement of intent, with it's bursts of distortion, stilted, off-kilter beat and esoteric vocals buried slightly in the mix. It's a pretty good album, although I haven't had a chance to fully digest it yet (such is the curse, I suppose, of the blogger wishing to stay ahead of his game). It's also fairly long, lasting me a journey to work, a trip to Waitrose at lunch and half a journey home including a trip to Sainsbury's. 56:12, according to Windows Media Player. It seemed long, but I guess it's no Superunknown (the longest single album that I can think of off the top of my head). Anyway, it seems like it's worth it, as there's some excellent songs on here, I Was A Lover is one, the other standout - even at this early stage - being Province (featuring a Mr David Bowie on backing vocals, no less), replete with wild keyboard stabs and a wall-of-sound approach to the rest of the instrumentation. Lovely.
TV On The Radio - I Was A Lover
TV On The Radio - Mr. Grieves (a Pixies cover, dullard)
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Tags: TV On The Radio; 4AD; David Bowie; Return To Cookie Mountain