on 9 May 2004
Another must-have for RH fans. I was lucky enough to actually be standing there at Earls Court for the recording of 2+2=5 live and listening to the track again on CD after experiencing it for real just sends shivers down my spine. The song has so much energy live and you can sense Thom's crazy dance around the stage through the sound of his voice as the song explodes. The CD as a whole holds a mix of different styles and contains some fantastic previously unreleased material such as 'Gagging Order' (a pleasant sounding acoustic number) 'Paperbag Writer' (sounds like an amnesiac trialist) and 'I Am A Wicked Child' (a bit different...funky folk rock with a harmonica!). However, 'Fog, live' stands out as its best track and is the definitive version of the song. It considerably out-performs the studio recording in a similar way to how 'Like Spinning Plates, live' on the 'I Might Be Wrong EP' is the better version.
on 19 August 2009
When I first listened to this 'album' I was a bit freaked out by it. Some of the songs make you feel like you are tripping in some way, what helps add to the trippy feeling is the way it's been produced, heavy panning from side, songs that really shouldn't be merged together being squashed on top of each other.
For example the first track (2+2=5 live) has the audience applause drifting onto track 2 (Remyxomatosis (Cristian Vogel Remix)) which is a studio track with synths remimisant to their 'Kid A' period. Don't get me wrong I'm not insulting the music production, mostly everything weird that you hear they somehow pulled off to make it a nice little creative touch.
Going back to what I said about the 'trippy' feel off the CD, alot of the tracks are very pessimistic, which Thom's vocals coming off as very haunting. After all this is radiohead.... so at points the 'trip' can be referred to as a bad trip I guess.
But not all of the tracks are downers, if you own 'hail to the thief' you will notice that they have redone 'I will', and I actually prefer the version on here, it's much more uplifting with real beautiful guitar parts throughout.
My personal favourites are 'Gagging order' which is one of the most hopeful and beautiful piece's of music Radiohead have ever wrote, and 'Fog (again)' which is another amazing song, which consists only of vocals and a piano, from the live performance Thom played at Le Reservoir.
Overall I would have to say it's a very mixed album, I personally don't like Kid A too much, so the 'electro' tracks I guess you could call them which make up half of the CD aren't really for me. If you are a Kid A fan then you will love this compilation, but for those looking for more of The Bends and OK computer you won't be too downhearted by the gems on this disc which in my opinion definitely make it worth purchase.
on 4 March 2011
With their then-latest album numbering a career-topping fourteen tracks, you'd be forgiven for thinking there weren't any B-sides left to put out on the now customary Radiohead companion piece. Sure enough, Com Lag sniffs around the creative wasteland left by the band's idea-gobbling sixth album, and finds... not a lot.
This isn't surprising, as the whole point of Hail To The Thief was to encompass everything the band does, meaning there'd be little good reason not to pile something onto the finished record. We open with a reminder of their efforts: a live rendition of 2+2=5. It's a cracker, obviously. This version offers a slightly louder bass that gives the song a more awesome aspect. Then we get a remix - the first of two. You can already feel this EP practically gasping for ideas.
To be fair, Remyxomatosis (how could they resist?) is fun. A busy but danceable beat takes the place of the song's defining aspects (namely, Phil and Colin), and at least it has the decency not to try to repeat the song. Thom's more-breathless-than-usual vocal does grow tiresome, though.
Next is a semantically different version of I Will. It's still good, because it's a brilliant song, but the changes really are minor. There are drums now (they add zilch), and of the two vocal parts that make up the harmony, Thom emphasises the lower, not the higher. This version somehow has more than a whiff of Amnesiac, and might have been at home there, with its creative cousin, Like Spinning Plates. But I wouldn't be surprised if some people heard it and thought, "I give up - isn't that just the same song?"
Paperbag Writer sounds, thanks to its antlike drum machine and insignificant instruments, like a remix of something else. There are good parts to it, but it feels wholly unfinished. The same goes for I Am Citizen Insane, which has been praised for making something out of nothing - meaning even its fans acknowledge that there is virtually nothing to it. A skeletal (nice enough) tune bobs along with random Thom shouts in the background, and although inoffensive, it is basically the Radiohead equivalent of lift music. If Radiohead were ever taken to making DVDs, this would be happy enough playing over the menu screen.
Better is I Am Wicked Child. Distinctly imperfect it might be, but that feels deliberate. The song has a loose, bluesey quality that is almost a parody. There's a moment late on when someone hammers badly at a keyboard, and it's hilarious, intentional or not. The second remix is Scatterbrain, and to be honest the bits of it I like are from the original song.
Just at the point where you're wondering why they released this, there's Gagging Order. A totally disarming acoustic number, sans any of the technical trickery the band have picked up since The Bends, it's gorgeous. It seems lost here, and wouldn't have made sense even on the magpie's collection of Hail To The Thief, but if the one solid achievement of Com Lag was to introduce fans to a just-like-the-old-days brilliant B-side, then thanks, guys.
But that's not all. Afterwards is a dazzling piano version of Fog, transmuted in the manner of Like Spinning Plates, and it goes together with Gagging Order to form an utterly sublime two-hander. It ends with a goodbye from Thom to his audience. Adorable. They don't let it lie, however, and conclude with Where Bluebirds Fly, a panic-inducing almost-instrumental often used to open on the Hail To The Thief tour. Brr.
The odds are against Com Lag, which must make do with scraps. There are simply barely any B-sides to put out there. The really good stuff numbers two songs, and they are absolutely enough to warrant buying this. (If you're still not tempted, there's a second live version of 2+2=5, this time on video. You may ponder the creativity of releasing two separate live versions of something on the same CD yourselves.) However, in the interests of eclecticism it might have been worth padding it out with a few more unreleased rarities. The piano version of Fog is great, but how many people have heard the original?
on 11 May 2004
I first heard about this CD on Friday 7th. I ordered it on Saturday the 8th. Today, the familiar cardboard parcel was waiting for me in the hallway. Eager and excitable, I opened the packaging and to my amazement, saw a shiny card-based CD case with mainly Japanese writing on the cover! I thought I had the wrong CD, but then read Radiohead near the bottom so knew it was the album I'd been so keen to buy...
...and what an album! You'll probably only have heard of this LE release if you're a Radiohead fan already, and if you're not, I'd probably best tell you that it's an album needing quite an acquired taste. The tracks are all unsurprisingly similar to what was on Hail To The Thief, and may take two or three playings to get into. But once you've achieved that, they're stunning, blissful works of genius!
I'm not going to bore you all with track-by-track reviews and commentary, but if you're a fan of the band and haven't bought all the singles, I urge you to buy this CD! Even the packaging and inlay booklet are works of art alone! And who knows, it might be valuable in the near future!
on 24 April 2013
One of radioheads more hidden gems. Truly a wonderful album that takes the listener to another dimension! Was a little bit tattered on arrival but other than that delivered quickly!
on 3 August 2004
To label "Com Lag" a B-side anthology would be to do it an injustice. Many, lesser bands would give this a full release- and with some reason. The EP reaches new stretches of originality in places, showing off the band's intense ingenuity. "I Am a Wicked Child" would have fitted snuggly into 'OK Comupter', while the live recording of 2 + 2 = 5 is indescribably spectacular, displaying Radiohead's ability to lift recorded material to a new level of brilliance on a big stage.
However, the EP does have its faults. Christian Vogel's mix of 'Hail to the Theif''s "Myxamatosis"- depressingly named 'Remyxamatosis' in a supposedly ironic, post-modern style- is dreadful, truly dreadful. It only rises from its deep, deep monotony in the last few moments, by which point its too late. Similarly, "Where Bluebirds Fly", whilst being far more listenable, is nothing original, and seems to have FILLER stamped all over it. "Skttrbrain (Four Tet remix)" is at least inventive, adding a new dimension to HTTT's closer, but again it doesn't come close to some other tracks.
"Paperbag Writer", for example, could be used as a four-minute definition of Radiohead's genius. Thom's haunting 'It was nice while it lasted but now its gone', Jonny's twisting riff and a few electronice beats in the back- so simple; so beautiful. "Fog", as has been noted, shines, and for similiar reasons. Its heartbreaking, both in its content and in the way it contrasts with recent Radiohead in its simplicity. "Gagging Order" is another archetypal indie ballad, though does not reach the same levels as "Fog", and remind's one of a stripped-done "Go to Sleep" to such an extent that it lacks any real edge.
Perhaps I have been overly critical, but it is Radiohead themselves who have lifted the bar, they who demand that 'good' not be good enough. Get the CD and admire- just skip track 2.
on 6 May 2013
This is strictly for collectors, in my opinion. If you love Radiohead's music from the Kid A + Amnesiac period, you'll probably dig this.
on 26 April 2004
As far as B-Sides go, this is great, but its been priced at the same as afull length CD, So I can only give this 3 stars. Half the price and itwould be 4 stars.
There are some good tracks on there which are worth hearing, "I Am CitizenInsane" - which was probably left out of Hail the Theif because it doesntreally fit in, good song though. It also has a live version of 2+2=5 andFog.
As Amazon havn't included the track titles on this page (at the time of mewriting this) Here they are...
01 - 2+2=5 (Live at Earls Court)
02 - Myxomatosis (Cristian Vogel Mix)
03 - I Will (Los Angeles Version)
04 - Paperbag Writer
05 - I Am A Wicked Child
06 - I Am Citizen Insane
07 - Scatterbrain (Four Tet Remix)
08 - Gagging Order
09 - Fog (again) (live)
10 - Where Bluebirds Fly
Well worth checking out if (like me) You're a Big Radiohead Fan, one ofthe better Radiohead B-Side CD's.
on 5 May 2004
This is a very strange cd. if you liked Kid A, Amnesiac, and Hail to the Theif, then this is probably for you. The live version of 2+2=5 is great. and the other tracks on the album are amazing. there isnt a weak song on this album, but it does take a bit of listening to. it is a must buy for any radiohead fan.
on 25 May 2004
As a collection of B-sides, its up there with the best. The inclusion of Fog (aka Alligators in New York City Sewers) is also a clever gambit to keep the organic nature of a selection of the songs on Hail to the Thief such as Go to Sleep and There There and keeps the album sounding fresh throughout.
However, beside the likes of Hail to the Thief, OK Computer and the other modern classics penned by Radiohead over the previous decade. This is a representation of where the band are at this pivotal moment in their history. This is a time capsule of how Radiohead see themselves at the end of their contract on EMI and deciding whether to go independant, renew their deal or seek other amusement separately. Why else include comparatively 'old' songs such as Fog and I am a Wicked Child that have done their laps on the internet between obsessive fans; the answer is clear, they feel right now. But perhaps more than that, perhaps this is a gesture of goodwill towards those that have stood by the boys since the first tentative steps in "some EP about being in an Iron Lung".
If this is so long, and I hope it isnt, it's been emotional.