I was asked recently, “Is there another band who emerged around the same time as Radiohead who are still relevant?” I suggested Pearl Jam, but admitted that they are doing pretty much the same thing as they did 15 years ago. Now that I’ve had time to ponder, I might mention Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, if they are still an on-going concern. But the point was made, for whatever reason, what and how Radiohead do, still seems somehow quite important.
Of course they made headlines back in 2007 more by the way they chose to release their album, than by the music itself. This time around, you’ll have to pay for The King Of Limbs if you want to legally own it. You can go to the Radiohead website…http://www.radiohead.com/deadairspace/ to download it now, or order the vinyl version.
So musically, how is it? Well, not quite as accessible as In Rainbows. Thom Yorke and company have seemed to throw song structure out the window in favour of mood and atmosphere. The majority of the tracks feature layers of skittering, bubbling synths (for want of a better term) with Yorke’s falsetto over top. Opening track Bloom is a perfect example. The intro sounds like a jumbled download…I thought there may have been technical issues…then it morphs in to a dreamy soundscape with Yorke’s languid vocal warning, “don’t blow your mind”.
Morning Mr. Magic follows. It’s an accusatory song, possibly aimed at someone in the music business. “You stole it all, give it back”, Yorke urges. Yorke’s lyrics are quite beautiful throughout the album. Unfortunately, they are also almost impossible to decipher thanks to his “unique” delivery. I suggest going to this site to find them: http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858860818/
It’s a relatively short album…only eight tracks in just over half an hour. Some of it is quite experimental (Feral), and other tracks haunting and moving (Codex, Give Up The Ghost). I reckon it will probably generate plenty of discussion. I can’t say it’s my favourite Radiohead album, but it certain has its moments. AS Yorke sings on the final track, Separator…”if you think this is over, then you’re wrong”. Let’s see what they do next.
Click here to listen to Separator from The King Of Limbs: