For only having been announced earlier this week, buy viagra canada
e.com/wp-content/uploads/The_king_of_limbs-300×268.jpg” alt=”Downright terrifying album art.” width=”300″ height=”268″ />The King of Limbs has been getting insane levels of hype, almost amounting to some kind of pseudo-religious music junkie holiday. The online music community literally lit up like a Christmas tree with Roman candles for branches on Monday, and while MT doesn’t make a habit of tackling every piece of musical flotsam spewed forth from the cultural bilge pump known as the Internets, we thought you deserved a Friday afternoon treat, and apparently Thom Yorke agreed with us.
So we’re off to the races! Allons-y and all that.
Track 1: Bloom
It took me a bit longer than I wanted to get into the rhythm of The King of Limbs‘ opening song, though I really appreciated the little guitar trill near the beginning that is signature Johnny Greenwood, it sounds almost exactly like the trilling, small high notes at the beginning of “In Limbo” off of Kid A. I sez to myself, “Self? This might not be all that bad. At least Johnny’s onboard with me.”
Then Thom Yorke’s crooning, winding, hazy vocals appear, and it’s clear right off the bat that he’ll be singing in the vein of In Rainbows- no vocoding going on, no backmasking or other Kid A or Amnesiac kinds of effects here. Take that news as you will.
Track 2: Morning Mr Magpie
Before the guitar comes in, the rhythm on this track sounds a bit like a jazzy bossa nova kind of piece, it almost reminded me of “15 Step,” from In Rainbows but lighter. The rhythmparts and lower frequencies of the song subtly get overdriven near the end of the piece, see if you can catch it, it’s not bad. Otherwise no big surprises here.
Track 3: Little By Little
There’s some classic Greenwood guitar going on here, spindly and clear, like some kind of crystalline spiral staircase. Can’t say much about the vocals and lyrics, though- they’re mostly unremarkable (which can sometimes be the Thom Yorke’s best quality when he’s really working with the instrumentation of a piece). There’s a ghost of a chorus, but nothing as strong as what you’d see in a early 2000′s Radiohead album.
Track 4: Feral
I can’t decide whether I like this track or “Separator” the least. It’s got a jungle-y kind of drumbeat and some odd echoey unison vocals, but I got the sense that none of the sounds Thom Yorke was making wanted to be part of an actual cohesive song. I do have to admit that at least it’s oddly melodic- if Thom doesn’t already have a way of describing this technique, I’m going to call it “vocal ghosting.”
Track 5: Lotus Flower
This is the first single Radiohead’s chosen to push off of The King of Limbs, as well as being the subject of a really wacky music video (bottom of the post) that was released alongside the album. There’s nothing like loading up Thom Yorke with a bunch of pills, putting him in a warehouse, and watching him dance (as one Youtube commenter said). Anyone remember when Thom Yorke freaked the hell out on Saturday Night Live (link goes to a Chinese video site, ’cause NBC doesn’t understand the value of the Internets and Youtube)? Yeah, this video reminded me of that.
antics aside, “Lotus Flower” is by far the best song on the album, with a bit of dissonance in the melody, and a strong, simple bassline with just enough variation and pop (Colin Greenwood, ladies and gents) to make it catchy. Something about Thom’s singing feels much more confident in this song; it just fits well with my expectations of what Radiohead’s eighth album should sound like.
Track 6: Codex
This track had an interesting, almost backmasked beginning, like the beginning from another track that somehow wandered into the mix. Radiohead is a very intentional band- if there’s a sound in a track it’s always there on purpose, but this particular artifact that almost sounds like a vocal bit doesn’t fit with either “Lotus Flower” or “Codex,” so it’s something of a question mark in my mind. Maybe the tracks can be rearranged to flow differently somehow- after all, the name of the song is “Codex”…
At any rate, the remainder of the track is a dark piece featuring some nice piano work and a thumping bass drum to keep time with trumpets crooning softly in the background as Thom intones, “Jump off the edge / the water’s clear / and innocent.” Or at least that’s what I think he’s saying…we’ll either have to wait for the liner notes to come out to know for sure or Mr. Yorke will pull a Kid A and intentionally not release the lyrics.
Track 7: Give Up The Ghost
Greenwood on the acoustic guitar and Thom Yorke’s singing is always an interesting combination, though not necessarily an unwelcome one. This is a gentle, dreamlike track that isn’t bad but isn’t particularly memorable save for the constant repetition of the words “don’t hurt me” in the background, which is just jarring enough to be unsettling.
Track 8: Separator
Last song…here we go. The snare here makes “Separator” sound very much like “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” from In Rainbows, but I was a bit disappointed with the ending of the song (and thus, the ending of the album). I felt like I was waiting for something or expecting something that never really came to fruition, though if you look at the last track of just about any post-Bends album (“The Tourist,” “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” “4 Minute Warning” to name a few), it’s pretty apparent that Radiohead likes the idea of the world ending not with a bang, but with a whimper.
The good: If you can’t get enough of Thom Yorke’s voice, you’ll love this jam, and I suppose lesser critics would call this album “layered” or “mature” or something.
The bad: The album is really only okay in my book. Let’s face it: this is a band who’ll probably never make another Amnesiac or OK Computer, a band whose glory days peaked in the early 2000s. One day I might stop coming to the table with the expectation of another soul-shattering album like Kid A, but quite frankly, that day isn’t today. Where’s the chugging three-note bassline from “National Anthem?” Where’s our dear old friend, the Fender Rhoades, and his buddy, the sleigh bells from OK Computer? If this is what “growing up” and trying for a more mature sound does to a band, then you might as well ship me off to Never Never Land so I can chill with the Lost Boys, because I want no part in it, my good sir.
The verdict: A lot of fuss has been made over Radiohead
ever since they went independent and started getting creative with their album distribution schemes. But what’s the point of being independent and giving away/heavily discounting your hot wares on the sidewalk of the Internet when it’s lower quality stuff…or at least not as good as your early work (I’m also looking at you too, Trent Reznor)? In the end, the shit you give away or sell on the cheap is always going to pale in comparison to the shit that made you famous enough that giving away your shit became a big deal in the first place. Why try harder when you know anything’ll do?
MP3′s courtesy of EarMilk