There's something about this album that still sends chills down my spine. Perhaps it was my first encounter with it a few years after its release. Sitting in my friend's coastal California living room, out of my head on who knows what, the first notes of "Planet Telex" hit. To say it was transcendental could be an understatement, the rest of the album just took me away. Listening to the album brings the experience back to me in a visceral way. There may be a few others out there who feel the same way. It seems that Radiohead's experience is a bit different, though. The band was put through the rigors of a few years of touring on the back of the surprise success of their single "Creep." According to some accounts they nearly broke up. Tensions were high as the pressure for greater success mounted. They returned from touring and began working on this album at the outset of 1994. After a few months in the studio they found that they were happy working with producer John Leckie and engineer Nigel Godrich, however progress was slow. They continued to record before going on tour that summer and finished the record once they returned. The Bends marked the start of a transition in the group's songwriting and is seen as a precursor to what was to come on their next album, OK Computer. They had moved on from the grunge-adjacent sound of their debut and started incorporating more layers and larger ideas. Songs like "Fake Plastic Trees" and "Sulk" are said to address social issues, while "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" was inspired by the book The Famished Road by Ben Okri. It seems that they moved from angst driven rock towards something more introspective and psychedelic. Limited edition 180 gram pressing.
- 180g black vinyl pressing
- printed inner sleeve
- digital download included
- music label: XL Recordings 2016
reviewed by Michu Meszaros 08/2014