Radiohead's King Of Limbs Unfocused, Fleeting
This morning, Rocks Off unwrapped Radiohead's newest release, The King of Limbs, an album whose existence was just announced this past Monday. In the old-school music industry, a record would be announced and you would suffer through months of interviews, video premieres, and reading reviews in Rolling Stone or SPIN before you would get to listen to anything for yourself. This is a delightful change.
As the follow-up to In Rainbows, 2007's extremely popular LP that was the band's first foray into unorthodox releasing methods, Limbs doesn't steer too far from that nearly four-year-old template. This is what Radiohead sounds like now. Gone are the guitars and drone, the swells of keyboards, the Kraut-y drums.
We downloaded our copy and recorded the results as they album unfurled. If you liked In Rainbows, you will see this album as a great continuation of that template. If you are new to the band's game and have been swept into the Internet hype the past week, you may find the results fitful and frustrating in places.
"Bloom" begins with Phillip Glass-style pianos before giving way to the band's now-trademark blips, and then into a mild electric frenzy by the three-minute mark.
"Morning Mr. Magpie" starts menacingly enough, for Radiohead at least. The chorus, or what passes for one in Thom Yorke and company's universe, bites off of The Beatles' "Within You Without You." Yorke's voice is more an instrument than anything now, capable of anything.
Spanish guitars open "Little By Little," a track reminiscent of Kid A's "The National Anthem." In fact, it reminds us of the same track, stripped down and replaced with organic guts.
"Feral" is almost stereotypical Radiohead, the sound that most ultimately confuses the uninitiated, the sort of people who scream "Who is Arcade Fire?!" Yorke plays his voice like a pipe organ, before rendering it back into the machine.