“The King of Limbs” – Radiohead
Any album from a band with as many fans as Radiohead has, is going to garner a lot of attention. So understandably when Radiohead announced to the world last Monday (14th of February) that a new album was going to be released in a matter of days, there was a massive amount of hype. The real big question though is whether The King of Limbs lives up to the hype or not.
Okay, so I’ll start off with what I think of Radiohead, there’s a lot of zombies out there who follow the band and love everything they ever do, I guess most bands have followers like that really (and I’ve been known to be one as well), but I was really uneasy after I heard the first reviews and thoughts of the album. One of my favourite albums is Amnesiac and I do enjoy a lot of Radiohead’s albums, but there’s a lot of deadwood on some and at times they’re a bit too long for my liking, nonetheless, they are a great band.
The King of Limbs definitely sounds like a Radiohead album, but what stands out is how much it is influenced by other bands. Four Tet is a major influence and songs like Morning Mr Magpie are influenced by early Holy Fuck. But the biggest surprise is the lack of guitar, which is a bit daunting as you listen. Overall the albums a bit hard to digest, while sometimes you find yourself drifting into the music, there are equally many times where you will find yourself losing interest in it.
With a lot of these 8-track 40 minute albums, I like to listen to them in the context of them being a record. In the case of The King of Limbs, side A would be very disappointing, while side B would be stunning. And this is my major beef with the album, it has little substance in half of the album, and this makes it near impossible to listen to in full. It really annoys hell out of me that the last four tracks are some of the most interesting things Radiohead has ever written, while the first four tracks sound like b-sides, or worse.
The first single Lotus Flower is a great slowly brooding song thats been given a boost by the relatively up-tempo drumming. It’s probably my favourite track on the album and really shows how good the album could have been. Codex is the other favourite track of mine, it sounds similar to Pyramid Song but lacks the ingenuity and off-kilter nature of it. It’s still an amazing piece of music and the horns give it a whole different feel.
The are rumours going around that this is only the first of 2 (or many) albums that Radiohead release this year. And I really hope that this is the case because as much as this is a good album, it’s a stumble from a band that is heading in the right direction.
As a whole The King of Limbs is an average album. It’s better than most but it’s nowhere near the quality of some of the albums that have been released this year. For me it’ll be “the album that could have been” because I m in love with some of these songs.
Reviewers Pick: “Lotus Flower”
Stand-out Tracks: “Lotus Flower”, “Codex”, “Seperator”