Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
Incredible, mesmerizing, stunning... everything I hoped this album would be
on 6 March 2008
If there was an album more intriguing than Radiohead's In Rainbows released last year, then I don't think I heard it. Of course, intriguing doesn't always equate with enjoyable, but Radiohead have managed to achieve both, although not always in equal measure. The album opener, 15 Step, for example, is a 5/4 time, frantic, paranoid oddity, boasting a powerful drum beat, interesting chord changes, slightly eerie keyboard sounds and desperate panting. It successfully combines challenging the listener's ear with a pleasurable and exciting listen, something that Radiohead haven't always been able to achieve over the last few years.
Babysnatchers is a raw, electric guitar riff-driven, rock song which is propelled along by repetition - certainly not your typical verse-chorus-verse-chorus song, but you wouldn't expect anything less from post Kid A Radiohead. In stark contrast, Nude is a beautifully serene, gentle song, sung by Thom Yorke with a gorgeous falsetto, accompanied by soft electric guitar and some caressing strings - one of the best things I have heard from them in over a decade. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, an uptempo track which starts softly with a drum beat, a guitar arpeggio and Thom's slightly unhinged vocals, builds slowly and gradually into an exciting and fulfilling crescendo providing yet another highlight of the album. The subsequent track, All I Need, a bass-heavy, soundtrack-to-a-film sounding, mid-tempo song with an unusual time code - after listening and attempting to work it out, it appears to be 10/4, is really something and at 3:48, it is almost too short.
The oddly titled but very lovely Faust Arp, features only acoustic guitar, strings and vocals and is a very welcome interlude from the often challenging, more layered tracks on the majority of the album. Reckoner combines the ethereal beauty of Thom's multi-tracked voice with the backing of a constant drum beat, a stripped-down guitar line and some gorgeous strings. House Of Cards has a reverb-laden drum beat and vocal, which results in a huge, cavernous sound, even more effective when the strings are introduced. The last couple of tracks, Jigsaw Falling Into Place and Videotape, which are both good, competent, fairly enjoyable tracks, don't quite measure up to the rest of the album and are a slightly disappointing anti-climax to what is otherwise a remarkable album.
In fact, this really is an incredible piece of work and, to be honest, is it something that I didn't personally think that Radiohead would be able to produce at this stage of their career. It appears to be just the right blend of leftfield experimentation and artistic integrity together with a desire to make music that people can connect with and really enjoy as well as appreciate on a high-brow level. This is a Radiohead I can get on board with and get excited about, something I haven't really been able to do for a number of years.