First Impressions Live: Radiohead – King of Limbs

If everybody else was jumping off a cliff, would you? Yes, yes, but this live-to-air thing is so compelling because you capture the very first moments as they happen! So this is me listening to King of Limbs for the very first time, updating in real time, as it happens.


Well, this is different. I mean, even for Radiohead. I’ve been listening to them for 19 years and they’ve managed to surprise me yet again. It’s off-beat – uncomfortable, but the vocals are smooth and balance it. It’s very jazzy. Once it settles into its itchy, uneasy groove, it’s actually quite pleasant. People talk about Radiohead being great innovators, but they’re not. They are just another of those “difficult” experimental bands that normally come from Brooklyn – Zs or whoever – but they’ve got a much better sense of song structure than almost any other band and are particularly adept at making the unlistenable sound ear-friendly. There’s shades of modern classical in this – layers upon layers of melody, brass, strings – maybe it’s all electronic; impossible to tell these days. What I can tell from even half of the first song is that I’m going to like this a lot more than Kid A. It’s the pop music of a future genre rather than the noodlings of a band with no proper songs to sing. Continue reading

First Impressions: Radiohead – Lotus Flower

You can’t say that Bends fans won’t like this. The Bends was great because it understood rock structures; its rhythms; its power; its hooks. Kid A was weak because the songs were insubstantial and meandering. You couldn’t remember the songs as you were hearing them, with the sole and notable exception of the superior Idioteque.

So, what’s Lotus Flower? It’s immediate – a funky, insistent groove that wriggles under your skin with the raw immediacy of one of Rihanna’s better songs. Toes and fingers tap unconsciously. Thom’s voice dances around without grating or cloying – it’s unfussy, unselfconscious.

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