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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 August 2017
I rarely bought anything new from 2000 onwards, being happy with my large music collection amassed over the previous 30 years+ and especially as little 'new' really enticed me.

However, some 10 years after my last Radiohead acquisition, the astounding and utterly memorable 'OK Computer', I was enticed into getting the Radiohead album 'In Rainbows' album and recently, after hearing about a 20th anniversary release for 'OK Computer', I was provoked into trying out earlier albums of theirs.

So, after a VERY disappointing listen to 'Kid A' but then a MUCH more satisfying audition of their debut 1993 album, 'Pablo Honey' I got 'The Bends'....

Wow !

As much of a revelation as 'Pablo Honey' was, this album blew me away and is just about as consistently impressive as 'OK Computer' (their next album); for me, it has several hints at what was to come with that classic album.

Firstly, like 'OKC', despite having so many strong tracks it demands to be listened to in it's entirety, in order, in one session as it seems to be more fulfilling that way - the playlist order is somehow musically 'logical'.

Secondly, the final track is one whopping great dollop of Radiohead brilliance which also, despite potentially being a little downbeat in tone, signals what some of the content in 'OKC' was going to be like.

Things start differently though, albeit with some of those 'sound effect' type of elements we would eventually get much more of from Radiohead, with the almost psychedelic 'Planet Telex'.

Track 2, the title track, is almost 'normal' in comparison - with prominent guitars; oddly, I find it to be very similar to Track 10, 'Black Star'.

Then we have an acoustic-type song, 'melancholic'-style song 'High And Dry'.

With track 4, this is where some will first recognise songs heard before with 'Fake Plastic Trees' - something of a real crowd-pleaser at live concerts I would imagine, torches at the ready...

and so it continues, excellent music throughout.

Things finish with that track I think hints at future music, in the form of the superb 'Street Spirit'. This is the track which I think features most prominently the full range of Thom Yorke's vocal talents, with his ability to maintain a note and fluctuate the tone for a lengthy period being the most impressive and influential; the song is, for me, equal to the quality of 'OKC' classics such as 'Paranoid Android' or 'Karma Police' - albeit that it has less 'content'....

So, their debut album 'Pablo Honey' was most certainly no 'one-off'. Here we have an album which just about reaches the pinnacle of quality for Radiohead which was then reinforced, in spades, by their next album, 'OK Computer'.

So, I recommended that you not only give this album a try, but of course consider 'Pablo Honey' and then (if it has somehow passed you by, to complete my Radiohead 'set') 'OK Computer', either with the original album or the recent 20th anniversary release.

One final observation, I had to buy this CD twice as the first second-hand purchase was duff; the re-purchase was fine BUT ALSO had a noticeably better recording quality. Both are EMI 'owned, but the duff original originated from USA on the Capitol label, the second better quality recording originated from UK on the Parlophone label....
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on 19 August 2017
This is a product review, not about the music. . . Bought OK Computer for £21, a nice heavyweight double album. This album at £18+ however, is junk. I knew it was a single Lp, but its as thin as the crap they were turning out in the 70's oil crisis. Its an awful "recording" (probably taken from an old MP3 file), and badly warped to add injury to insult. Save your money, as we record collectors are being shafted. Get the Cd instead. Great music though !
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on 31 July 2016
This is an excellent album even better in my view than 'OK Computer'. The songs range from the reflective 'high and dry' and poignant 'fake plastic trees' to the mysterious and eerie 'street spirit (fade out)'. One of the best albums of the 1990's and comparable to the best rock records in any era. Despite my copy being second hand the condition of the CD is also very good.
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on 26 September 2016
A very dark album bought as a gift for someone, but I have listened to it before. Radiohead come into their own on this album and understand how to make their sound more experimental with some very dark lyrics and Thom Yorke establishes the start of his well known vocal sound.
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on 21 December 2016
One of my favourite albums of all time and certainly my favourite Radiohead album. Have wanted this album on vinyl since buying a player. However I was slightly disapppinted to find the album quite badly warped, in all likelihood due to it being very tightly shrink wrapped. I'll play it to check it's ok before deciding whether to return it.
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on 28 May 2012
This is in my opinion, radioheads best work along with OK Computer. It has a strong alternative rock sound, but they put there own spin on it to set themselves out from the crowd. The albums opens with the song "Planet Telex", which isn't one of the standout tracks on the album, but it is still has a catchy hook and is a good opener. Next is the title track which is a big stadium sort of song that would fire up a crowd. "High and Dry" comes next which in my opinion is one of the best songs on the album. It opens with a nice, mellow guitar riff before the rest of the band comes in. Thom Yorkes incredibly catchy vocals in the chorus are beautiful and uplifting. After that is the track "Fake Plastic Trees" which is to me, one of the best songs on the album. It is very minimal at the beginning, consisting of just vocals and guitar. But during the chorus an organ comes in which only adds to the beauty of the song. Halfway through the song the song picks up with some electric guitars and drums. The album bursts into life with the track "Bones" which is the most aggressive and loud song on the album. Thom's wailing vocals in the chorus are no doubt one of his best vocal performances on the album. The song " Nice Dream" marks the halfway line on the album and is a nice mellow way to calm things down before the next track "Just". This song is a big loud rock song with a catchy guitar riff and some fast background playing by Johnny Greenwood. Next comes "My Iron Lung" which I feel is one of Johnny Greenwood's best guitar riffs to date. The guitar riff is whiny and feels surreal.. After the that the song slowly creeps along until the loud chaotic ending.One of the standout tracks for me. Following that comes "Bullet Proof...I wish I was" which is a slow, moody, mellow track which is very pleasant to listen to. This song gets a little tedious after a while, but is overall a good listen. "Black Star" comes next and this is another rock song with a big chorus and a catchy hook. Next comes the powerful song "Sulk" which I feel is Thom's best vocal performance on the album and one of his best ever. His soaring powerful vocals are great and incredibly impacting which makes this song feel so warm and deep. Finally come the song "Street Spirit" which features a haunting riff from Greenwood, followed by the equally haunting vocals from Thom Yorke. A great way to close the album

There aren't many negative points I can make about this album. It is is powerful, emotional, and brilliant. I highly recommend it.

10/10
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on 17 February 2016
I bought this for the B-sides. Radiohead were in a golden period for b-sides and the six singles (i think) released off The Bends all featured several brilliant tracks all collected here. The Bends ain't bad either.
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on 8 July 2016
They didn't realise it at the time but this was to be one of their best recordings. They never again recaptured this kind of songwriting, but they are Radiohead and didn't wish to.
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on 22 September 2017
Great album, not too sure about one or two tracks but overall superb.
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on 21 May 2012
The Bends was the first album I bought when I left secondary school way back in 1993.
A lot of people in their thirties will say this was the soundtrack to their youth. Yes there where Blur and Oasis and Brit-pop, but Radiohead vocalized how I felt, and many felt.
The Bends isn't just a good collection of singles; it is a sublime, energized and sometimes angry musical statement about the inner condition of the urban mind.
Five stars is not enough for the soundtrack to so many lives!
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