Review Summary: Another continuation in the overall Radiohead style, and one which executes its design with precision and skill. The music itself is not overshadowed by its hype or advertising, and instead draws in attention to its variety of moods and tones.
With capturing the essence of an album, many music lovers tend to glorify their favourite bands. So many bands tend to be described as producing at a level of creativity or genius far and above the music industry as a whole. With so many artists supposedly reaching unparalleled new heights, it is easy to feel some scepticism as to the validity of all these praising claims. Whether Radiohead are conformers, push the envelope, or create whole new areas of music is entirely up to the individual who describes their influence on the music industry. Yet to place them in their own world, far removed from the condition of the music industry is a claim hard to back. They certainly have done much to explore the crevices of musical sound, but the range with which they cover is miniscule compared to what can be created. A common focus is on the different sounds of each Radiohead album, but ultimately underlying each album is a common style; their own unique style. In Rainbows
is another genus of their family of sounds.
As a part of their marketing mix, the music itself does not become overshadowed by the other factors. As much as the place and promotion of the album have encouraged interest and excitement, they do not dominant the overall experience. It is a credit to Radiohead that whether the music is as good as it could have been or not, the album itself offers enough intrigue to avoid a shallow package. Thus instead of detracting from the experience, the somewhat unique promotion of the album contributes to the music, adding value for the listener.
One area in which Radiohead excel is in knowing what to put emphasis on, and how to remove over saturation of noise. This is displayed in Reckoner
, with the long introductory build up combining numerous sounds of interest, from the drawling vocals to the unbalanced but propulsive drumming. Equal emphasis is given to all aspects, but rather than a state of anarchy in the negative sense, they do not collide but work together, and allow for each to develop their path. Even when more distortion and a thicker sound is used, each part still has its place and the pieces contribute rather than create a conflicting swarm of sound. At times this resonates in a rather clear and sharp production style. Each part is not given an over-grandiose purpose, but rather fits into a plan, executed with precision.
One may describe the mood of the album in line with the tone of Thom Yorke’s vocals. Yet descriptions of depression or mellowness do not do the album justice. The emphasis with which Yorke uses in some songs such as Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
do not point towards an attitude of melancholy, his passion undermines such descriptions. Thom Yorke’s vocal tone and style is certainly in some way unique, with much drawling and little annunciation. To describe his style may be appropriate, but the overall mood of the album does not conform to one descriptor. The album does not cover a rainbow of sounds, though Yorke’s vocals and the other instrumentation certainly does have a design or plan that covers a wide range. The execution on this is often stellar, and as a result In Rainbows
seems to deliver time and again in unfurling its complex but precise design.
Whether or not the album is as classic as its predecessors is listener defined. It is however noteworthy as part of their strand of sound. The music within the album has many sides to it, and the execution gives each aspect enough emphasis to add to the sound without creating clutter or over saturation. The music is just one part of the album’s marketing mix, but thankfully it is not overwhelmed. However the music is done justice by the promotion and product placement, rather than merely living up to the hype and promotion. Radiohead are merely another band, they do some things better than most, and some worse than most, and In Rainbows
is no exception. Their style however is removed enough from the norm to entice listeners, and something within their style has struck a chord with many. But to say we are the Radiohead generation is a fallacy; their music is simply a part of a generation. Ultimately, Radiohead and In Rainbows
fall within rather than outside or above.