It’s that time again folks, a new decade is upon us and Radiohead are taking us on a whistle-stop tour of the future of mainstream music and melodic rock with The King Of Limbs, their eighth studio album. There’s a reason why the video for ‘Lotus Flower’ can attract a cool 2 million views within a day and a half of it being uploaded; Radiohead are masters at what they do, constantly changing their sound and vision from album to album, yet retain that same hauntingly beautiful texture to their music, and this album is no exception.
At only 37 odd minutes and 8 tracks this is a little on the short side, but hey, it’s about the quality, right? I’d certainly say so, and there’s plenty of the quality stuff on TKoL. Thom Yorke’s vocals are on top form here and instantly likeable, even if some of the music isn’t. There’s plenty of glitchy sounds here and almost techno drum beats. ‘Feral’ showcases this beautifully, with all the subtle noises and catchy melodies you’d expect from a Radiohead instrumental, and yet with some strange indescribable discordant quality that no other band or artist would pull off so smoothly. Every strange noise, every weird beat, every seemingly out-of-place feature of the music is so perfectly crafted and lovingly designed that I can’t help myself falling for this album.
At times this album is painfully beautiful and involving. ‘Codex’ for example, is delicate and moving enough to close a Sigur Ros album, it dances from minor to major progressions so elegantly and thoughtfully. Thom’s voice spouting lyrics that stick in your mind the second you hear them: “Slight of hand / Jump off the edge”. Again with ‘Give Up The Ghost’, a song of a certain degree of rarity for a Radiohead album in that it’s main focus of the song is a steel-string acoustic playfully strumming the simple chords and keeping the simple beat, proving that good music dosn’t have to be complicated and break boundaries; sometimes it just needs to be affecting.
This album has a wholly different feel to that of it’s predecessors, this album is subtle, delicate and yet energetic and very positive. It only gets better with repeated listening, only then do you start to truly appreciate the complexity and slight of hand magic to the music. I found that this album really sticks in your mind, all the little details and surprises this album has in store follow you around for days after hearing it. Some people are claiming the songs hark back to the days of OK Computer, I disagree completely; these songs are an entirely new breed of beast. Undoubtedly it won’t be for everyone’s tastes, but for those who give it the time and patience to grow and blossom, this album is right up there with the classics.
There are rumours of there being a second half to this album (Like In Rainbows before it), but whether or not that’s true I don’t know or care; this album has blown me away in some ways, and left me standing and contemplating in others. Despite it’s length, there’s a lot of replay value here; it’s the kind of album you could listen through over and over and still hear things you didn’t notice or overlooked the last time. My verdict: Head over to DeadAirSpace.com and grab it while it’s hot, and while you’re waiting for the download, watch the ‘Lotus Flower’ music video, it’s amazing!