Revered by the most finicky of critics as the only arena rock band that matters, this 14 track record is full of Thom Yorke's now familiar paranoia and sustained vocals. Said by a band member to be a far sunnier recording process than what produced the arctic and emotionally sanitized Kid A and Amnesiac albums, this record was recorded with longtime collaborating producer Nigel Godrich in Los Angeles and Oxford. Although the band apparently has become more comfortable with the critical attention and the width of musical avenues they've traversed in their career, this record confirms that they haven't let superstardom pacify their dissatisfaction with big business government. Yet, Thom Yorke's penchant for extended syllables delivers his restless message on the strength of melody and does not low ball you in an over articulated, collegiate fashion. It's almost as if this refusal to stop being tortured validates all previous lyrical parlays Radiohead have recorded for the world to hear? I don't place them in the same pantheon of monastic, community mindedness as a Fugazi, yet they must be filthy paid by this point. Where's the toss off disco record? The later career, cringe/ wretch cameos? The officially sanctioned dancehall/drum n bass/house remixes? Perhaps their crowning achievement will be sustained hunger for a new voice, voices they're able to cultivate because of actual talent. "2+2=5" is the hard evidence I sight, with a The Bends era explosion transitioning seam fully into a manic, strummy, rock combo directness. The album's conclusion, "A Wolf at the Door" combines echoes of Tim Buckley, Billy Joel's "We didn't start the fire" and the Beatles' "I want you (she's so heavy)", and yet delivers on the wings of trademark Radiohead keyboard swells. Double 180g vinyl.
- music label: Parlophone 2003 / 2009
reviewed by P-Gorgeous 10/2005
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