I’m Alex Cahiz, an Intern here at The Weekly Dig and I also run the Radiohead Fan Tumblr.
Today Radiohead‘s latest album was released a day early after a 4 year hiatus and a surprise announcement on Monday the 14th.
Today I’ve downloaded the album and will be giving you a play-by-play account of the album as I listen to it song by song:
(11:30am) First Song: “Bloom”
The dreamlike ethereal atmosphere that is Radiohead is immediately established with flowy piano loops, guitar rifts that play against one another and echoing brass instruments that create a sense of a dream like space. Thom Yorke’s pained voice enters and completes the Radiohead listening experience.
(11:36) Second Song: “Morning Mr. Magpie”
The tempo is quickened and battling bass and guitar plucks a delightful sense of mystic. Loops of robotic shoegaze sounds fill the space. Industrial space station ambience in the background.
(11:40) Third Song: “Little by Little”
The band takes a step back in time with a more traditional but still distinctly Radiohead sound. Think slower than “Reckoner” but faster than “House of Cards”. Cow bell and maraca but in a good way. This is all sounding very In Rainbows era, nothing quite Kid A/Amnesiac yet nor The Bends/Pablo Honey era either. And that’s a good thing too.
(11:45) Forth Song: “Feral”
Here we go. More electronic with with live drum loops. This is what supercomputers listen to for meditation. Deep bass rifts battle Yorke’s monk-like chanting in a loop battle of good and evil. Had to have a second listen through.
(11:51) Fifth Song: “Lotus Flower”
Like a call to prayer to the House of Radiohead, a distorted electronic organ pulls us into the magnum opus of the album. Yorke serenades me into worship as the music begins to control my body and makes it sway.
(11:57) Sixth Song: “Codex”
Now in a state of trance this piano heavy song relaxes the soul and puts you in a state of calm. French horns and violins lift Yorke’s voice like wood and brass wings.
(12:00) Seventh Song: “Give Up The Ghost”
Birds chirping, acoustic guitar playing, bass drum kicking. Visions of the band playing in an empty field at daybreak as the last stars fade fill my mind’s eye. A choir of Yorke voices, some distinct, some distorted, fill the space. End with arpeggi acoustic guitar.
(12:08) Last Song: “Separator”
They sure love that voice echo effect, prominent to basically every song in the album, but doesn’t get old. Definitely has the feel of a closer song. Traditional three instrument band sound that eases into flowy guitar rifts. Imagine this playing as the credits being to roll, the band walking down a dusty road towards a sunset, fade to black.
(12:15) Final Impressions
If you like Radiohead, you’ll like this album. If you’re a fan of the newer stuff as opposed to the old than you’ll love this album. This is absolutely a post In Rainbows sound. Slow and atmospheric is the name of the game here. This isn’t an album to throw on to get you pumped in the morning, this is an album to enjoy like a 20 year old bottle of wine. Savoring each song and identifying each subtle nuance that went into the process of making this album. To fans who know their sound, you can tell this is the continuation of Radiohead’s love of experimenting with sound and continued growth in bending genres. Though this is no Kid A or In Rainbows there is nothing disappointing about this album other than maybe its length. Personally after four years I was expecting at least 12 tracks or at least some B-Sides. Perhaps only a matter of time. With the release of The King Of Limbs, Radiohead continues to show us why they are one of the most important bands of the modern era by producing quality sound that speaks to the human relationship with music.
You can get the album exclusively at TheKingOfLimbs.com and you can get the digital download only edition or the “Newspaper Album” Collector’s Edition. Guess which one I got…
(UPDATE) These guys waste no time. Here is the official music video to “Lotus Flower”: