Review: Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Holy crap. Really? A day early?! The news is all over the place: Facebook, Twitter … Radiohead had nothing else going on today, so why wait until tomorrow to release their newest masterpiece?

And why indeed! For those of you who have heard “Lotus Flower,” you’ll know the excitement and anticipation this CD holds. One of my favorite songs of theirs is “Everything In Its Right Place.” For some reason, this song kind of has that vibe to it. LOVE LOVE *LOVE* this song.

For those of you who have been living under a musical rock aren’t familiar with Radiohead, a brief history is in order. The band consists of Thom Yorke, who handles the vocals, Jonny Greenwood on guitars and occasional keyboards, Ed O’Brien on guitars, Colin Greenwood providing bass and synth work, and Phil Selway on the drums. King of Limbs is their 8th studio recording, and if it’s anything like their previous works, you’ll want to grab this. Like … now.

Yet you’re still reading this. Why?! Why are you buying this RIGHT NOW?!

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, more and more bands are doing their own marketing and distribution. Radiohead is no exception. They’re jazzing it up for the “newspaper version.” Check out what all is included at the link above. I ponied up the $48 for that one, and I would strongly recommend that you do the same. For one, it comes with a CD, which I can then rip to wav if I want. For another, vinyl. Clear. Making a HUGE comeback. For the audiophile purist, vinyl is the way to go.

However, if you’re not into the ancillary peripherii, the $9 and $14 for mp3 and wav respectably is a great way to go. Either way, you’ll get your digital copy of the new CD immediately. Or, well … as fast as your throttled high-speed internet provider will allow (I’m spitting in your general direction, Comcast.).

So how does the new CD sound? What’s it like?

On one hand, it’s a rich, deep, haunting CD. At the same time, there is a more minimalistic approach than in Radiohead CDs of the past. By “minimalistic,” by no means do I mean that the music is sub-standard. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a pure sound to this that

“Bloom,” the first track, is a eargasmic trip into a soundscape that these little Apple earbuds simply do not do justice. I really need my Bose headphones back … *sigh*. Oh well. With the effect this song has had on me the two times I’ve listened to it, I’d swear that it’s binaural, but I can’t be positive. I do know that it’s extremely mellow and relaxing.

Compared to “Morning Mr. Magpie,” that is, which starts off, “You got some nerve, coming here. You stole it all … give it back.” There’s a very low-level feel of angst and just a hint of pissed-off-edness to keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the song to explode … and it never does. It maintains the air of “I’m going to kick your ass … maybe” throughout the entire song.

“Codex” is a fantastic piano piece that will haunt you until the day you die. There’s a warm mix of traditional piano, synth, a very subdued, possibly drum machine bass, and of course, Thom’s crooning. Mid-way through, there’s some synthetic horn sounds that mixes really well with the song. Overall, it’s a really peaceful piece.

You know my MO … I’m not reviewing every song. I will say this: If you’ve liked the last few Radiohead CDs, this one will grow on you really fast. This one is to be enjoyed with a a drink, dim lights, and a good pair of headphones or a fantastic home stereo. If you’re the brandy-sipping type, you might want to pour yourself a glass, sit back in your favorite chair, kick your feet up, and just chill with this. You’ll find yourself hitting repeat and zoning out for hours.

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