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Customer Review

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't stop playing this album!!, 2 May 2011
By 
This review is from: The King of Limbs (Audio CD)
As an early purchaser of the 'newspaper album' released via Radiohead's website, I was given the opportunity to download the MP3s the following Friday which I duly did. On first listen, I have to confess that I was pretty disappointed. I remember thinking how 'Bloom' sounded somehow 'detached', particularly with its strange drum loop, and that it didn't kick the album off well at all. 'Morning Mr Magpie' merely continued this trend by simply containing a sparse guitar/hi-hat/vocal loop, not much in the way of a chorus. In fact, 'Codex' was probably the only sign of Radiohead which I could relate to, the track having somewhat of a 'Pyramid Song' feel to it.

I fell in love with 'Separator', but the rest of the album just didn't work at all. Ten listens in and I still wasn't gripped, the music sounding to me like extended experimentation, sparse instrumentation and containing limited points of interest.

On the basis of the above, I would have probably given the record a 2- to 3-star review.

However, the 'newspaper album' duly arrived last week and I've not stopped playing it since. Here's why. I fast-forwarded straight to 'Separator' on the first listen, but as I ran through the rest of the album, something strange happened. I began to fall in love with it. Seriously fall in love with it.

It's just that The King Of Limbs sounds so incredible on CD. Where the MP3s sound sparse and lack focus, the CD contains bags of detail, a fabulous amount of bass and it really draws attention to the intricate nature of the songs as a very big 'positive' rather than 'negative'.

The King Of Limbs sounds simply amazing through my system, sound quality which my iPod can only dream about. Where the iPod misses out bags of bass and detail consistently (even when routed through my stereo), the CD comes up trumps every single time.

What about the songs? Well, where 'Feral' sounded somewhat disjointed listening via MP3, on the CD it has a wonderful feel to it. I also love the way that 'Feral' takes Radiohead into a sort of hybrid Dubstep/Jazz territory.

'Morning Mr Magpie' contains so many extra sounds on the CD which simply didn't come across on the MP3, that I quickly saw the song for what it is - a great song rather than an extended jam. Similarly I imagine that 'Lotus Flower' would sound amazing in a live setting and would comfortably sit alongside 'Everything In Its Right Place' in the setlist.

My advice to anybody listening to this album wondering why they bothered purchasing it on MP3 is ditch the MP3 player (320kbps compared to CD's 1411kbps - go figure!), buy the CD (or the 10" vinyl from their website which also sounds incredible through the right equipment) and enjoy the album for what it is - a great album.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 May 2011 11:00:37 BDT
Out of interest were you using Apple headphones - using Bose (cost £70) make a massive difference to the quality?

In reply to an earlier post on 9 May 2011 11:09:13 BDT
Paul says:
Hi Partrick,

Nope - I threw those away. I have a pair of Audio-Technika headphones which cost around £200. I also play the iPod through a dock in the glovebox of my car through a Bose surround sound system. Both just didn't do the music justice at all. When I played the CD, it was like the moment in the Wizard of Oz where everything turns from black & white into colour.

I really hope that the quality of MP3 increases. Even CD is coming up to its 30th birthday now - I find it amazing how something akin to the quality of a C90 cassette tape has become so popular!

Posted on 5 Jun 2011 19:58:06 BDT
Absolutley agree with your comment. I particularly love hearing this album through headphones to get all the extra depth out of the songs.
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