Friday, February 18, 2011

Radiohead - The King Of Limbs (2011)

Not so long ago Radiohead announced their eighth record coming out and in a week everything has been a total anxiousness, with this they demonstrate that they are Radiohead, they can conquer all and they’ve don it all, from big company campaign to free download to twitter frenzy, Radiohead just keep doing it over and over again standing like the true artists that know first handed the time they’re living and the people that consume their art. And what can people expect from a band that knows their time in terms of their music? That’s the question that has tricky answers, because if one thing Radiohead doesn’t do is please the public with predictable material, so the correct answer one could say is that always expect the unexpectable.

Radiohead always move forward, and these 8 tracks are no exception of the extent of creativity they can have without being pretentious or over experimental, in fact, they always seem familiar never mind how far they take their experimentation. This time around they’ve produced another solid gold record, with mind-blowing proportions and if you don’t pay attention you won’t even notice. What’s interesting about this new sonic adventure is the amount of difference, contrast and cohesive sound they accomplish track by track. The opener “Bloom” display sounds of ethereal bells in the back with a very front protagonist tropical drum frenzy and synth to find in the middle jazzy trumpets and a lot of echoes creating a sort of ambient feeling, then jumps to “Morning Mr. Magpie” that leaves the third world drums behind and opens with amazing work of Philip Selway’s capacity of creating guitar sounding beats effects as a drum, and post-rock sounds that reminded me of the works Battles were doing in 2007 and a master intervention of bass and ethereal sounds that give a sense of mystery that only can be calmed out with Thom Yorke’s falsetto, calming any sense of paranoia that the music could have if it was any other band’s attempt to nail this feeling.

The third track “Little by Little” changes the mood with a sort of hypnotic western guitar, very trip hop and as psychedelic as you’ve never heard Radiohead before, just to be continued with the trip hop beat by “Feral”, an amazing electronic song with space elements in the voice and a really dry drumming, with no echo added to it but church like elements in the back and combination of solid sounds with space and a sort of liquidity that match tribal electronic voices with unintelligible languages. Then comes the single that has this sort of up-tempo tango beat with flamenco claps but echo that abruptly interrupts the dry sounds.

And for those that still remember the sounds of The Bends and Amnesiac with nostalgia; they come back giving new life to those old sounds, reinventing “No Surprises” or “Fake Plastic Trees” with songs like “Codex”, a space ballad with piano, violins, cellos, and an echo from a deep throat on the back, that comes to wave hello from a near by friendly dark land that adds mystery in a romantic kind of way. “Give up the Ghost” samples natural sounds, acoustic guitar and simple space folk that put layer over layer of sounds and create a brilliant structure of new old songs we love like “Nude” saying goodbye with “Separator” the typical standard Radiohead song (and that’s not a bad thing to be”.

This LP reaches almost all the moments of absolute brilliance and again, reminds me of a revisit of the early sounds without being nostalgic, if you think that Amnesiac or The Bends, if you dig the space sounds in OK Computer, and if you think that In Rainbows was brilliant because it represented a sort of synthesis of what all of Radiohead discography stands for, then you should come check this out and see what Radiohead sounds like walking forward.

For sure you can see how Radiohead is adding up to contribute to the new sound and about to be born genre of post dub-step artists like Burial or James Blake, not only nailing the experimentation level you need to start considering the birth of a new sound but also making it really accessible, like if it always existed, they master so well the fine art of experimenting in this record that you wont look back.

This LP is almost perfect now, I can't imagine how can it be if it grows on me even more!


1. Bloom
2. Morning Mr. Magpie
3. Little By Little
4. Feral
5. Lotus Flower
6. Codex
7. Give Up The Ghost
8. Separator

Rate: 9.6/10

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