Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
Talk about being taken by surprise! On Monday I, and most of the rest of the population, had no inkling that Radiohead would suddenly announce a new album was on its way, and not just sometime later in 2012 but in five days time! In these days of strife for the record industry where a new album is leaked by some unscrupulous employee barely five minutes after the band have finished mastering, it’s nice to see that big news such as this can be kept quiet from the baying masses!
It is also a sign of our modern times that a band can literally put down their instruments in the recording studio and barely a few days/weeks can go by and I, a humble music fan, am listening to my own legal copy on my stereo.
So, The King of Limbs is out there, digitally anyway, it is due to be released physically on CD and vinyl on March 28th, there is also going to be a limited “Newspaper” edition which will be sent out in May. To find out more about this special edition, and maybe order something, check out the website www.kingoflimbs.com
I had pre-ordered and was patiently awaiting the announced day that I would be able to download a copy, then I noticed that on Facebook people were saying you could download it a day early, I went to my order tracking page and, yes, there was the download link, woo-hoo! Clicky clicky!!
I was quite surprised to see such a relatively short album length, leading to many internet rumours that maybe there’ll be another later in the year, combined with the fact that the last track is called “Separator”! At just 8 tracks and 37 minutes it is quite sprightly (since the days of a 40 minute limit to a single vinyl album, the average CD length seems to hover around the 50 minute mark in my experience) but not so short as to think “is that it?”, but short enough to consume in one easy sitting. In fact following my first complete listen I put it right back on again, and that’s not something I can say I have done in many years!
As I have only listened to it through four times currently I do not feel I know it enough to give it a cast iron opinion on it (despite my over-excited slavering after first listen yesterday!), a fault of mine is often to come out and give a record massive props only to decide a few days/weeks later that it’s not as great as I first thought after all!
I am therefore just going to impart my first thoughts regarding the album and some of my current highlights.
The fact that music journalists were in just as much dark as the rest of us was quite interesting, there were no reviews to read/avoid, no “track by track” assessments, it was just me and the new album from one of the biggest bands on the planet! The first two listens, amazing though they were, were largely useless as an objective overview, for me it was love at first listen so it’s unlikely I’m going to turn around anytime soon and say “hmm, King of Limbs, a bit shit isn’t it?”, just ain’t gonna happen pal! But by third listen I felt able to step back a bit and “listen” a bit harder.
At the moment the tracks that really do it for me are, “Codex”, “Separator” and “Morning Mr Magpie”. “Codex” is a beautiful track, on a par with “Pyramid Song” from Amnesiac or “Sail To The Moon” from Hail To The Thief. “Morning Mr Magpie” has the jerky beat similar to tracks like “15 Steps”, you just can’t help doing the little Thom Yorke style ticks and jerks as you bop along! “Separator” starts off quite unremarkable until a beautiful guitar trill is introduced which elevates the track closer to remarkable, it acts as a great closer to the album, you’re left wanting more but as I said earlier, not in an “is that it?” way. The one track that seems to be dividing message board opinion is “Feral”, sitting smack bang in the middle of the album it is closest to the style of Kid A, to me sounding what it would be like if they’d made Kid A part two instead of Amnesiac. It has few vocals, elements of dubstep and here and there sounds like a track by Burial!
I think it is safe to say that this release has set the internet on fire, rabid fans and rabid haters at loggerheads on messageboards and blogs across the globe! This sort of thing really doesn’t usually happen with bands I follow! Is it always like this with “mainstream” bands?! Hey, at least it should guarantee some decent hits for my blog!! 😉