Album Review: Radiohead’s King Of Limbs
Published: Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 00:04
Seemingly out of nowhere, alternative rock group Radiohead announced their new album The King Of Limbs on Valentine's Day, only five days before the scheduled digital release. As a second surprise, they decided to release it a day earlier, on February 18. This is the band's eighth studio album, as well as their shortest, with only eight tracks comprising about 37 and one half minutes. A physical release is set for March 29.
Along with the release of the album, Radiohead released a music video for the song "Lotus Flower." The music video is simply black and white footage of Yorke lip-synching and dancing strangely to the song. In the song itself, he sings almost hauntingly in front of relatively uptempo instrumentation. A prominent warm bassline dominates the track, creating a soulful groove as indescribably attention-grabbing as Yorke's dancing in the music video. Although the hook isn't nearly as catchy as Radiohead singles in the past, such as "Creep" or "Karma Police," it still has an addictive quality that grows with time.
The King Of Limbsmaintains a great flow throughout, with every song leading perfectly into the other. Through the first few listens, the album almost sounds as if it is just one long piece. However, this does not mean the tracks aren't distinguishably different from one another. From the bass-intense "Feral" to the enchanting piano ballad "Codex," Radiohead creates a new and refreshing sound for each song.
As a whole, The King Of Limbs is a nice and soothing group of tracks. Odd minimalistic drum beats and the beautiful vocals of Thom Yorke reign over the album, creating a collection of dreamy landscapes throughout. The album can be best described as an ambivalent lullaby; the beats inspire the urge to dance while the rest of the music soothes the listener into submissive relaxation.
The downside to The King Of Limbs is that it may leave fans feeling unsatisfied and underwhelmed, wishing for more. In fact, there is a conspiracy that this is simply a part of a larger entity. The short length is only one of the arguments. Another stems from the final track "Separator." As if the title wasn't enough to perpetuate the theory, Yorke sings: "If you think this is over, then you're wrong." Also, Radiohead describes the upcoming physical version as "the world's first Newspaper Album." The point of view is that this album will act similar to a newspaper and keep having releases. Whether the public receives more from Radiohead or not, we still have eight fantastic tracks from one of the best bands currently in the business.
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