Review Summary: The greatest brit-rock / electronica band needs a good old fashion eagles-esque hiatus or we may lose them forever, which at this rate, may be for the best.
Radiohead is a band from Oxfordshire, England who after dismal beginnings made two of the greatest brit-rock albums of the 90s, which was closely followed by ‘Amnesiac’ and ‘Kid A’. Amnesiac and Kid A were a pair of pretentious electro albums, a pair of albums that split a fan base in half and generally shocked fans for it’s different to the then normal Radiohead sound. Those two albums had the general advantage of growing on someone in time. After two more average at best albums, the band released their eighth album ‘The King of Limbs’ an album which can only be described as a production disaster.
‘Bloom’ starts the album with a disoriented but beautiful piano loop and after some reversed percussion the whole thing turns into, out of time / out of key electro-jazz. Instruments - mainly the bass - spend the whole time trying to out do each other in an attempt at being the dominant sound, even if it means clashing with the other tracks. When Bloom finally fades out, ‘Morning Mr. Magpie’ begins completely out of the blue and is generally a much cleaner song than Bloom but suffers due to Thom York’s horrid choice of melody, to put it bluntly the song doesn’t get better. Along with Morning Mr. Magpie, ‘Feral’ and ‘Separator’ are worth just flat out skipping as the songs only removes from any experience you may have gotten from the album. The song ‘Giving Up On The Ghost’ on the hand is worthy of a listen but due to it’s painful repetition may get on some people’s nerves and probably would have done better being the final track.
‘Little By Little’, the single ‘Lotus Flower’ and the ballad ‘Codex’ for what it’s worth are the highlights of the album. Little By Little is the cleaner and far more melodic version of Bloom and Morning, Mr. Magpie, but it still suffers from the same things Bloom does which unfortunately takes away from the experience. Lotus Flower, if you can get past the first 45 seconds, has one of the most addictive chorus’ of any Radiohead record but as with every other song that Colin Greenwood plays in, in The King of Limbs, takes away from the over all enjoyment.
It would almost feel like a blessing if you hadn’t enjoyed the album that it had a mere eight tracks and was just over thirty-seven minutes length. The truth of the matter is that in the multiple sessions it took Radiohead make the album, they just didn’t enjoy making it. Making a decent lengthed album would have been bad for the band, may have even killed the band. For Radiohead to continue with the greatness they once were and for them to continue to want to make music with each other, they may need to take a few years apart. What sounds like bad news for fans is better than the alternatives of them breaking up or releasing terrible album after terrible album.