Here we are now, entertain us. Or don’t: whatever, we’re yours to mould in the palm of your collective hand, Radiohead; so giddy are we after the first time through of In Rainbows that our scrambled senses can only offer fractured initial thoughts. More to follow, no doubt; more from you, post here.
DiS’s Gareth Dobson puts virtual pen to virtual paper after a cursory investigation of Radiohead’s new LP, opening up the DiScussion to glean your opinions on the event release of the year.
Scattershot drumbeats, bright jazz tones and a good hint of unhinged rock. It’s a bright and fairly auspicious start. It says: “Hey, we’re still pretty rocking, but at the same time, we’re not going to repeat none of that The Bends crap. We also really like Charles Mingus.”
The heavy, distorted warped guitar attack continues. This sounds like a more mutant, militant cousin of ‘The National Anthem’.
The one that all the Radiohead faithful have been waiting for, a lush ballad that’s been knocking around for almost a decade. It’s been left largely untinkered through the ages, the same simple torch vocals present, with newly added big-screen strings and synths. It’s this album’s ‘Sail Me To The Moon’, amidst the other noise chaos of the LP. Oh, and Thom can still sing a bit. And Radiohead still write the best ‘ballads’ around.
‘Weird Fish / Arpeggi’
Peels of teardrop guitar, jazzy drums, and something that threatens to break out halfway through, huge and blissful, but never quite does, going somewhere slightly darker and twisted. Part lovely, wholly awesome.
‘All I Need’
Ponderous, heavily driven along by bass-y piano and a solo Yorke vocal; things don’t really materialise until late in the day, when a sprawl of noise hits the desk. Not the best song on the record by a long shot.
A menacing two-minute acoustic near-interlude that sounds almost Nick Drake-esque. Live, we envision Thom Yorke playing guitar and singing his vocals hiding under the sound desk, surrounded by mutilated teddy bears.
One of the most played tracks on the 2006 ‘Just For Fun’ world tour. Starting and ending with a waterfall of percussion, it sounds like a slowed down ‘90s dance song with its piano strings and lush orchestration. If Radiohead ever did listen to Klaxons…
‘House of Cards’
“I don’t want to be your friend, I just want to be your lover,” croons Yorke in rather scary reference to a Texas breakthrough hit. Then we realise that it’s the other way round, which is good. A song seemingly created only of atmospherics, cut-up sounds and warped strings. Which sounds remarkably awesome. Well-loved in the DiS office already
‘Jigsaw Falling Into Place’
Jokingly, we initially wrote that “it sounds like ‘Paranoid Android’ being played in the style of Robert Johnson”. And actually, it really doesn’t. Think instead something more like a psychedelic ‘I Might Be Wrong’, that erupts into a brilliantly stringed crescendo.
The now-traditional ‘weird closer’: a plaintive piano ballad with a repeated and strangely exciting percussive ‘train’ effect. The main refrain makes us want to sing “ne-on bi-ble” over it. Good use of panning though, as it sounds like someone is passing a block of varnished wood through your head.
Well, that’s the first-timer perspective on an album we are now playing again in the DiS office. You guys are probably a few steps ahead of us – we got in late, blame Ken – so do please DiScuss Radiohead’s new baby below, and post your own reviews of In Rainbows. Click here for details on that.
Not got In Rainbows? Fear not: Xfm are playing the record from start to finish from midday. Click here for information.