With Radiohead tributes you either get something that goes somewhere completely outside of the genre to ruin the Radiohead album, or you just get a mix of the album with a little bit retuning of the sound. Radiodread by Easy Star All Stars, does nothing drastic to the album and isn't overproduced at all, so it makes for an enjoyable and fun experience.
If you love Ok Computer, you will still like this. A common mistake people make when they are about to buy this album is that it is going to make them dislike the original "Ok Computer". No, this album actually does some good things to the classic album, it gives it more of an optimistic feel, and it does a wonderful job at the end of the album of remixing the songs. "An Airbag Saved My Dub", skips some lyrics but the cool reggae beat mix with some advanced electronics make it a nice remix, along with the fact that it kind of gives us the feel of the "Climbing Up The Walls Remix", featured on Ok Computer singles.
There were three key points in this album for me as a listener. Could anyone in this world possibly sing and play Paranoid Android to a new style? And this album honestly does that perfectly, even though the vocals sound a little more desperate in the begging than Thom's actually do, it actually sounds like a woman is singing them but it is still better than I can do. The instrumentals somehow give "Paranoid Android" a more epic reggae feel, even though it was already epic as a rock song. Imagine the begging of PA being the beat of the whole song, but still working out perfectly. That's what makes this a good song.
My next key point was "Lucky", which is such an electric guitar driven song, how are the Easy Star All Stars going to make it into there style? But actually they do it well while hitting Thom's high-note perfectly, even though it sort of distorted. The guitar isn't really a big factor at all in this song which proves that these guys are putting there own mix on it without ruining the great song. The actually throw a jam session in at the end to make the song even better, what a nice job!
The next was "Exit Music", I always thought if someone put an upbeat style to this song it would kind of ruin the darkness that it is known for . But the guys do a nice job of keeping the song dark while giving it there own style. They don't try to make it an epic song, which is why this album succeeds. Another nice job of producing the song to there style, but not overproducing so they completely make the song Reggae.
The Stars also did a nice job with "The Tourist and Climbing Up The Walls". These are another two difficult songs to play, because with "Climbing Up The Walls" you have to keep Radiohead electronic influences in the song while putting this with Reggae. It sounds difficult but the band makes it seem easy, the only complaint is that the singers voice doesn't sound as distorted as Thom's does in the real song. And with "The Tourist", The Easy Star All Stars, have to make it a reggae song while not taking anything away from the beautiful song Greenwood wrote. They actually give us a shorter and quicker version of the song that gets to the point while still keeping it's beautiful sound and combining there influences.
I knew "Let Down and Karma Police" were great songs, but this CD made them a little bit cooler, I'm scared to say better. The singer keeps the desperation of the original "Karma Police", while adding a laid-back feel to it. Even though he doesn't really capture the intensity of the breakdown well it's still a cool experience, because he nails the chorus and surrounding lines perfectly. "Let Down", is a very sad song in it's original form, but in this setting it is very optimistic with the singer hitting high-notes and jumping for joy to the best reggae beat of the album.
The two weakest tracks on the album are the 7 and 8 tracks. Well first of you can't give "Fitter Happier" a reggae feel without making it worst than it already is. The song was once freighting with a robot singing it from a computer, but when these guys sing it, it's just like they are talking without a beat. Not a very good track, maybe they should have skipped the track altogether. And even though I've never really been a big fan of "Electioneering" outside it's powerful and provoking chorus but that kind of plays as a background thing in this song. Honestly as the singer sings the chorus, the other person is on another note so it gets kind of frustrating after a while.
The other real irritating weakness is getting used to this guys voice at first. He doesn't sound anything like Thom so that can getting kind of annoying to diehard "Ok Computer" fans like myself. But the singer does a nice job of not overdoing his voice to sound like Thom's, because if he did this wouldn't be reggae but a horrible mess of songs ruining this classic album.
This is a nice listen, it takes a little time to get used to the singers voice and the whole thought of "Ok Computer" becoming more optimistic, but after a while you see how well-produced but not over-produced this album is. And it may give Radiohead some more fans than they already have.
Paranoid Android done perfectly
Doesn't take away "Exit Music's" haunting feel
Cons: It takes some time to get used to his voice
Fitter Happier and Electioneering were forced
Will anyone buy this?
Climbing Up The Walls
An Airbag Saved My Dub