Quick Review (LP): The King of Limbs by Radiohead

Radiohead
The King of Limbs
2011

My Rating: A (86/100)

Best Tracks: "Bloom", "Lotus Flower", "Codex", "Give Up The Ghost"

It’s a Radiohead LP – Fussy and Brilliant

Well, this one was bound to be a divider, but it has won me over. Yes, I’ll admit it was lost on me after my first few listens, but then again it took me several months to breakthrough with Kid A. Maybe I’m just one of those suckers who will fall for anything, but I really dig the fact that the overriding theme of this record, for all of its electric and industrial sheen, is the natural realm, pure and simple. (I can just see Thommy boy strolling through the post-apocalyptic forest with Mr. Bluebird on his shoulder.) Sonically, Limbs is a fantastic offering. True, it’s only 8-wide, but its octave of tracks forms a delightfully dense and spectral aural mist. Side B really steals the show, kicking off with the truly brilliant "Lotus Flower", followed up by the chillingly gorgeous "Codex," which might just be a better piano ballad than "Videotape." At this point, any one who expects Radiohead to make a predictable record needs to get a clue. While I’d love to get the guitar-heavy follow-up to OK Computer that I’ve been thirsting for since 1997, I’ve also learned to love the fact that Radiohead will never make the same record twice. The King of Limbs’ payoff is anything but immediate, yet for those who are willing to listen closely for the tender, the nuanced, and the elegaic, it is without a doubt one of the most rewarding records in the band’s catalog.

RANDOM NOTES:

– Perhaps The King of Limbs is the avenging angel of death on the cover, ready to get back at mankind for the mess we’ve made of things?
– Their most mellow record for sure.
– Reminds me of the Amnesiac b-sides, esp. "Kinetic" and "Fog."
– "If you think this is over then you’re wrong…" Please let that mean a follow-up is coming soon!

ATTRIBUTES

Consistency (4.5/5) – second half def. superior to first half
Cohesion (5/5) – frantic blended brilliantly with the slow and ominous
Consequence (4.5/5) – not as big a bang as OKC, Kid A, In Rainbows, but this IS Radiohead
Concept (5/5) – thematically excellent with nature motif
Songs (4.5/5) – too few!

OTHER REVIEWS:

Pitchfork
AMG
Josh Hurst
Metacritic

Radiohead: Amnesiac (2001)

Radiohead
Amnesiac; 2001
Capitol Records
My Rating: 61/100
Radiohead’s own ZOOROPA…
Here we have Radiohead’s own ZOOROPA, wherein the band has already changed the game and convinced millions that they will, in fact, love the left turn that the band has taken. So where to next? More of the same with a few twists. And while AMNESIAC is not a bad record,it’s not a great one either. I’ll dispense with my gripes first. “Amnesiac/Morning Bell” is unnecessary. The b-sides associated with the album prove that the band had plenty more tricks up its sleeve, and “Fog” or even “Follow Me Around,” might have fit nicely in its place. Also, “Hunting Bears” feels like a throwaway, experimental to a pretentious extreme. Lastly, the production on some tracks is a bit too muffled, although I suppose this was somewhat intentional, given the extreme claustrophobia that forms the thematic center of this record. So now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s talk about what’s good and even great. Good: the straightforward “Knives Out”, the darkly hilarious “Packt”, the twisted Dixieland jazz on “Life in a Glass House.” Great: the lucid dreamscapes of “Pyramid Song” (a definite career highlight), the hardcore electronica of “Pulk”, the avant-psalm “Like Spinning Plates.” Although AMNESIAC isn’t Radiohead’s best album by any means, it nonetheless makes for a fantastic experience every once in a while. Recommended for any and all fans of experimental sounds, and, for that matter, Radiohead.
Cohesion (4.5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (3/5)

Radiohead.amnesiac.albumartRadiohead
Amnesiac; 2001
Capitol Records

My Rating: 61/100

Radiohead’s own ZOOROPA…

Here we have Radiohead’s own ZOOROPA, wherein the band has already changed the game and convinced millions that they will, in fact, love the left turn that the band has taken. So where to next? More of the same with a few twists. And while AMNESIAC is not a bad record, it’s not a great one either. I’ll dispense with my gripes first. “Amnesiac/Morning Bell” is unnecessary. The b-sides associated with the album prove that the band had plenty more tricks up its sleeve, and “Fog” or even the as-yet-unreleased “Follow Me Around,” might have fit nicely in its place.  Also, “Hunting Bears” feels like a throwaway, experimental to a pretentious extreme. Lastly, the production on some tracks is a bit too muffled, although I suppose this was somewhat intentional, given the extreme claustrophobia that forms the thematic center of this record. So now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s talk about what’s good and even great. Good: the straightforward “Knives Out”, the darkly hilarious “Packt”, the twisted Dixieland jazz on “Life in a Glass House.” Great: the lucid dreamscapes of “Pyramid Song” (a definite career highlight), the hardcore electronica of “Pulk”, the avant-psalm “Like Spinning Plates.” Although AMNESIAC isn’t Radiohead’s best album by any means, it nonetheless makes for a fantastic experience every once in a while. Recommended for any and all fans of experimental sounds, and, for that matter, Radiohead.

Cohesion (4.5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (3/5)

Tracks:


1. Packt like sardines in a crushed tin box (4/5)
2. Pyramid Song (5/5)
3. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors (5/5)
4. You and Whose Army (3.5/5)
5. I Might Be Wrong (4/5)
6. Knives Out (4/5)
7. Amnesiac/Morning Bell (2.5/5)
8. Dollars & Cents (4/5)
9. Hunting Bears (2/5)
10. Like Spinning Plates (5/5)
11. Life in a Glass House (4/5)