People like when music strives to break barriers and is offered to everyone for free. Radiohead's first stab at releasing material without the help of a record label sets a tone for returning to experimentation and producing music which is natural in feel. The driving instrument of the record is Yorke's voice, and it seems the rest of the group is stuck in this journey with him. It's a journey that is sometimes bright, and sometimes dark, but always searching. "Bodysnatchers", for example, examines a man ignorant of a current situation, yet still striving forward for the joy living in the modern age can offer. And even when the searching ends on the closer of the album, "Videotape", the protagonist can't wait to look at the life he has lived while waiting for the unknown in grave anticipation. In short, it's an album about learning and human frailty, and keeping away from always lingering sadness.
The listener could say that the instrumentals take a backseat on this release. However, it would be better to argue they're just wonderfully restrained and only there when entirely necessary. There's about equal measure of both electronic based sounds and the traditional output from a current rock band. Since they are often blended together with subtlety, the sounds fit together well and avoid cringe inducing reactions. They're simple, well executed, and cut just deep enough into you. The peaks of all the instruments playing together at once create sporadic moments of bliss, while the majority of the album being slower and more about mood seek reflection. It's with this approach we see a similarity to life. The highs are incredibly high, and the rest feels like routine at first. But without the routine, all would be most definitely lost.
In Rainbows may be one of those albums to sit on for some time to understand, or it might be absolutely genius at first listen. However, it is another undefined step in the career of Radiohead, and should be explored by everyone just for how "nude" the end product turned out. The band made that much clear in the presentation, execution, and distribution of the album. It's a record that wasn't made to sell records, but to give yet another example of how we all move along.
I always go back and forth between this and Kid A as my favourite Radiohead album. "Bodysnatchers", "Reckoner", and "Weird Fishes" are my 3 favourites but quite honestly the whole album rules. I really like the guitar-driven sound of the music, its a good change from the electronic-indulgences of the the past efforts.
I've only seen his comedy stand-up shows and heard his albums. I'll have to look into his plays because I didnt know he did anything else. The man is a great though, definitely one of my favourite comedians.