"Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read." - Frank Krappa

Friday, 18 February 2011

Mandatory 'The King of Limbs' review

Radiohead's new album, The King of Limbs, was a giant surprise. I mean that in the sense that I was surprised to know that it was coming out, the album itself sounded much like you would expect it to: electronic, syncopated rhythms, lots of whining, clever music etc.

Despite the lack of musical surprises, I really, really like it. I'm probably not the first person to say so, but Radiohead are very good at making music and I would be extraordinarily shocked if they made a bad album. Therefore I hope their music doesn't legitimately surprise me any time soon (other than by possibly popping up unexpectedly again).

However, the first two tracks, Bloom and Good Morning Mr Magpie, kinda suck. While giving them a first listen I was thinking: "This is cool" and then: "Is this cool?" and then: "Do I only like it because it's Radiohead?" and finally: "I do not like this."

To start with, Bloom was not a Nirvana cover. Once that ridiculous false hope had been let down, I realised that it sounded like a Four Tet rip-off. Radiohead have ripped off Massive Attack and Aphex Twin to great effect, but I don't think Four Tet's jumbled sound combines well with Thom Yorke's voice. Spot the difference (ignore the vocals):

I am joking about the whole "rip-off" thing, but the similarities are endless, and I don't think it sounds good.

As I mentioned before, I also don't like Good Morning Mr Magpie. There's a similar mismatch between music and vocals. Thom Yorke has a fantastic, fantastic voice, but I really don't like how it sounds over fidgety, claustrophobic layers of high-hats and synths (which admittedly would make a very cool and interesting piece of music sans vocals).

Anyway, despite my bitching and whining (I realise I've been doing it a lot lately), The King of Limbs, is a fucking brilliant album. The other tracks are everything we mild Radiohead fans hoped for when a hardcore fan friend excitedly told us about their new album: beautiful, intricate epics. They just should have ditched the first two tracks, or made them instrumentals. Everyone likes instrumentals.

Here's a few killah tracks:

(This sounds like a mixture of this Four Tet song and this Caribou song. But in a really, really good way.)

(The wonderful lead single, with a charming (but significantly less wonderful) video.)

(The unanimously agreed stand out and future classic)

(The beautiful and oddly uplifting closer.)

1 comment:

  1. agreed! bloom and magpie suck. so does feral. codex is epic brilliance. and the other tracks are solid. but it's no In Rainbows