Released worldwide on the 6th July, Return to Cookie Mountain is the third album from New York electro-rock band TV on the Radio, from which the current single Wolf Like Me is receiving airplay across the country.


While there are few bands that sound like TV on the Radio, there is certainly no shortage of groups attempting to go under the electro-rock/hip-hop crossover moniker at present. What separates TV on the Radio is an authenticity within the genre and a willingness to experiment. Well those things, plus a swag of talent and high quality songs.


This latest album comes at the end of five years of hard work. The band have literally played hundreds of shows, starting with improvised performances of the duo of David Sitek and Tunde Adebimpe, then, as the group grew and matured, growing into full productions featuring a host of guest musicians (including Nick Zinner, guitarist of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs).


This is a considerably more polished and mature work than previous offerings. On Return to Cookie Mountain, TV on the Radio combine their trademark electronic mayhem with layers of vocal harmonies, distorted guitars, horns and driving bass and drum patterns. This time though, there are structured songs and space to appreciate the various parts provided by the myriad of musicians and friends that contributed to the record.


Wolf Like Me is one of the more accessible songs on the album, but repeat listens reveal more gems on this very listenable record. Of particular interest are tracks Province (featuring barely audible backing vocals by David Bowie) and Dirty Whirl (a track vaguely reminiscent of Massive Attack, which may not be a coincidence considering Sitek is presently collaborating with the UK group on their upcoming album due out in early 2007).


Return to Cookie Mountain is beautifully packaged, including fantastic artwork by Sitek and Adebimpe. Although the quality of the artwork should come as no surprise, considering these founding members first connected as visual artists, only adding music to their works as an accompaniment.


But looks alone don't make a great album. Thankfully, Return to Cookie Mountain is a classy record. It's intelligent enough to successively reveal its secrets over repeat listens but user friendly enough to provide immediate pleasure. It seems TV on the Radio are vying for an early position in 2006 for Record of the Year.


Return to Cookie Mountain is out now through Inertia.

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