james debate
james debate

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Genre Alternative
Label Self-released
Producer Nigel Godrich
Release Date 28th March (iTunes and stores), Out Now (Radiohead website)

radiohead king of limbs

Thom Yorke and his cohorts have returned with their long awaited follow up to 2007's critically acclaimed In Rainbows, but anyone expecting more of the same will go away bitterly disappointed.

More Kid A than Ok Computer, this latest offering takes a very deliberate step away from some of the band's more radio friendly releases, and taps into the Radiohead propensity for dark and broody experimentation. As a result, fan reaction has been somewhat mixed; praised by some as their finest work to date, dismissed by others as impenetrable and self indulgent.

The final product is work of a much lower tone and intensity, free of the kind of balladry that typifies their biggest hits. But low-key though it is, there is nuance here to be appreciated if one attempts to do so. This is certainly an album that requires multiple listens before an informed opinion can be reached. Fortunately, repeated listening is an easy challenge, as running just barely half an hour long this is also Radiohead's shortest album to date.

While the quality varies, the standout track has to be Codex, a hauntingly beautiful and atmospheric piece that will linger long in the memory. Elsewhere Little by little sees Yorke at his most angsty, while Give up the Ghost is a lush acoustic sonnet. Beyond these songs however, it is hard to find much else of note, the pitfalls of releasing such a small LP.

Whichever way you choose to look at this album, Radiohead at their worst are rarely anything other than interesting. The issue I have is that the King of Limbs never achieves or even seems to reach for the level of greatness that we have come to expect from the band. Especially when you consider the four year gap between albums, one can't help but be a little disappointed that we only have 8 tracks here, perfectly decent songs, of which few are particularly memorable.

Must Listen

Give up the Ghost

Little by Little

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