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The King of Limbs, favorite songs first few listen in


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Apologies for the repeat post. I wasn't sure whether my review belonged here or in the Radiohead thread.


I've had two listens so far. Here's my review:


Bloom – very Everything is in the right place featuring some out of time percussion. Definitely the sound of their post-Britpop disdain that we were treated to in the early 21st century. Familiar “hmmm-mmm-mmmm” harmony from Thom Yorke (distorted). Percussion slows to a synchopated, marching type beat with loads of synth seeping through. A good opener.


Morning Mr. Magpie –this song has quite a strange low-fi pop La Roux type sound, bass heavy, vocals almost become a little secondary in the way they fade in and out in the middle. Flows quite nicely from the first track.


Little by little – the first thing you will immediately hear are more live instruments, less electronica. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily make it a better song, Thom’s vocals make this song the album’s first real challenge. At the moment i'm feeling a little bored by this song, uninterested. But the music does have its moments. Thom’s vocals bring it down a bit. Eastern tinged guitar parts, background electronic percussion stragely reminiscent of “…sardines…” (the opening track from Amnesiac).


Feral – the first song I dislike on the album. Reminds me a lot of “Like spinning plates” from Amnesiac. The music is once again very electronic, lots of echo on the vocals. A very drowsy sound even by Radiohead standards. But, it’s also very inviting to sit at home DJs who remix music for a hobby. In fact, I don’t think there are any lyrics to be found in the vocals. Given that it’s an 8-track album, you get the impression (as speculated by an earlier review in this thread) that Thom wanted to really challenge the listener. I honestly find it hard to believe that they wanted an 8-track album of what they felt were the tightest and most cohesive songs from the album sessions for Limbs.... If we were to go through all the stuff recorded and demo’d for this album, I’m sure we could find at least 5 tracks we’d prefer ahead of this.


Lotus flower – interesting opening groove. I enjoyed this song from first listen when watching the video. Has a Where I end and you begin vibe (from the Thief... album). A great track but there’s a lot of layers to get through. Some are putting me off, some I love, it’s so far feeling like a song that will just present itself to me sometime in the future while listening to it on the way to Uni or work. But it’s cool. I must say, if I were a director developing a concept for this song, I honestly would never have thought of Thom Yorke dancing.


Codex – perhaps the song which is closest to continuing the feel of In Rainbows, but that’s still not saying a lot. The murky atmosphere from the previous tracks still runs right through it, but Thom’s melody’s are crystal clear which is a first for this album. A real highlight, I love this song. Probably the best song on the album. Minimal percussion, piano driven and obviously very moody with a touch of brass. Beautiful.


Give up the ghost – some acoustic stuff here with some very angelic vocals from Thom. This is very close to the In Rainbows sound and is probably the cleanest and least oblique on the album. It’s almost like a very solemn Led Zepplin. Not in the way of soaring vocals and epic guitars, but more along the lines of those opening moments in Stairway to Heaven. Another album classic.


Separator – back in Kid A mode. Nice piano arrangement, a very bright and optimistic sound. Surprisingly warm. A nice ending.



Overall: a good listen. The sound of the album is definitely embedded heavily in the Kid A/Amnesiac period of their career. In fact, if you were to consider Kid A as consisting of a trilogy of albums, this would be the third episode. In some ways it’s kind of like the link between Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief in the way that it combines a lot of the cryptic experiments of Kid A/Amnesiac but also sets up in some areas (Codex and Give up the ghost) the melody and more straight forward approach heard on the Thief record. For now, it’s hard to say where this album sits. Radiohead are clearly a band (if you didn’t realise it before) that are paranoid of boredom, even if it means confusing the audience. In fact, in confusing the audience, they become more intrigued on becoming lost in their creativity. They don’t ever want us to be correct in what we expect of the band. They don’t want us to know when or if it’s coming and that, as frustrating as it has the potential to be, is what makes Radiohead the band they are. On reflection, maybe the 8 track approach (clocking in at 37:29) is a welcome one at that. To endure 40 – 50 minutes of the album may reduce the desire for repeated listens.


For now:


3.5 out of 5


BUT with potential to really grow. It could easily be a 4 star album in another month, I doubt it will achieve the fifth though.


So far it’s looking like:

1. Kid A

2. In Rainbows

3. The Bends

4. Ok Computer

5. The King of Limbs

6. Hail to the thief

7. Amnesiac

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Yeah, I always expect the studio version to be a bit domesticated. Its interesting to hear him spice up the vocals, though I prefer it when his pitch doesn't shoot up until 'the ghost' in the bridge. It will always be better live, but I also like the subtle strings and guitar accompaniments the other guys added. In any case, the live recordings I have are pretty rough quality, so I can't help but love hearing it in its polished glory.

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Radiohead: The King of Limbs – review




Radiohead: The King of Limbs – review


Radiohead's dense and knotted eighth album may sound a little predictable at first but it merits close and long listening


In the end, it arrived early. Announced on Valentine's Day – and, perhaps not uncoincidentally, the eve of the Brits – the eighth Radiohead album was eventually sprung on the world a day before anyone was expecting it. That was an act of mischievous digital benevolence so typical of Radiohead, a band rewriting the rules of pop engagement on the fly.


Judging from their most recent black-and-white portrait, in which the band slope awkwardly at the bottom of an ancient tree, The King Of Limbs could, by rights, have been their acid folk album – one informed by the writing of Roger Deakin, perhaps. Indeed, seven tracks in, Give Up the Ghost – a mellow and mantric song strung on acoustic guitars and announced by birdsong – gives a hint of what might have been.


By contrast, anyone following Thom Yorke's recent Office Chart blog posts might have been expecting a record in thrall to dubstep, or even more obscure electronic micro-genres. Fulfilling that brief is Feral, a sinuous bass shakedown at the heart of this typically contrary, intermittently stunning, album.


Yorke's deep affinity with musical outriders such as LA's Flying Lotus – upon whose album Cosmogramma he guested last year – is manifest. Bloom, the album's opening track, is underscored by wild jazz polyrhythms. Well, this is a 21st-century Radiohead album; it was never going to be easy listening.



In truth, The King of Limbs sounds a little predictable, certainly at first. It is very much the heir to 2007's In Rainbows, imbued with some of the spirit of Yorke's solo outing, 2006's The Eraser. Which is to say, it sounds another death knell for fans of The Bends and OK Computer still hoping for a late recantation and a return to anthemic guitar rock.


Guitars are very thin on the ground in Radiohead's dark wood. The most traditional sounds here occur on the splendid Codex, in which a stately, distant piano bongs mournfully. Restless rhythms abound. But they never quite resolve into dance beats – despite Yorke's brave moves in the video that accompanies Lotus Flower. It should have stopped traffic in Tokyo last Friday at rush hour, but because of crowd concerns, the screening on Hachiko Square's giant video screens was pulled.


Radiohead's works reward close and long listening; this dense and knotted eight-track album is no exception. But one of its most instant delights was the sense of giddy communion last Friday, as fans and observers awaited, then savoured, the record in real time.



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Radiohead - The King Of Limbs [Album]




Radiohead - The King Of Limbs [Album]


So what can we read into Radiohead’s decision to jump its own release deadline by a full 24 hours quietly making their new album The King of Limbs available online — downloadable in two formats MP3 and WAV and by special order in two vinyl packages — Friday instead of Saturday as promised?


First that the British band is still so clearly and so comfortably out of the industrial loop, having slipped its chains with the big dogs a couple of years ago to embrace the free-trade chaos of the great Internet democracy, even serving up 2007’s In Rainbows at no charge to those who couldn’t pay and urging cash buyers to shell out what they thought the music was worth.


Perhaps still chafing from the burn — music fans however loyal still preferred the free option and Radiohead quickly retreated from this novel marketing gambit — the band is asking a minimal $9 for the MP3 download of the follow-up $14 for the uncompressed WAV version and $48 and $53 for two-disc vinyl sets with assorted extras.


Fair price fair play all round even though this time there’s not as much publicity to be gained as with the “free” experiment. That The King of Limbs crept out of its box without any brouhaha indicates the depth of the band’s commitment to independent marketing and its faith that fans will keep themselves informed. Friday afternoon the early release was the Web’s biggest buzz.


And begs the questions: What’s so compelling about this album that it had to leave the gate before the scheduled start time? Is it too big to be contained, too brilliant to be kept in the shadows for another day? Is this the start of a new musical age?


The answers: Lots, not really and settle down.


This isn’t Radiohead in full flight. It’s quiet, ambient, almost monk-ish music built around sonic textures, jazzy drum riffs, spacey voice loops and contemplative lyrics that seem to have a lot to do with mankind’s relationship with and responsibility to nature.


Not that you can isolate any one song or even a single idea as the core of The King of Limbs. Characteristically perverse and unpredictable Radiohead’s members — Thom Yorke (lead vocals guitars piano) Jonny Greenwood (guitars keyboards) Ed O’Brien (guitars vocals) Colin Greenwood (bass synthesizers) and Phil Selway (drums) — now eschew the kinds of big musical statements and bold memorable chorus hooks that typify many of their past hits.


Instead, there are elliptical melodies that never resolve themselves and huge spaces between their once crowding instruments.


At once adventurous and naïve bold and subtle, the songs on The King of Limbs are clearly the result of honed musical smarts, intelligence and intuition. On first hearing they sound like the fortunate outcome of long and random experimentation in the studio.


But by the third or fourth time familiar phrases occasionally bubble through the surface of precise complex and airy drum and bass patterns that never actually threaten to jell into a solid groove. Yorke’s vocals are plaintive sweet and full of yearning — with not a hint of weariness or cynicism. And the entire opus is complete without a single conventional guitar chord providing some kind of foundation — an amazing achievement in itself.


The deliberately perplexing opener “Bloom” notwithstanding, every one of the remaining seven cuts is a winner. Much will be made of the Floyd-ish single “Lotus Flower,” the only track with a semblance of a rock feel and a ghostly repetitive melody line but “Codex,” “Give Up the Ghost,” and “Separator” provide this album’s richest moments with their eerie chords odd time signatures unexpected pauses subtle melodies and intensely orchestral flourishes.



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as long as you don't mind me helping out :P


BBC Music


Radiohead’s sense of timing is quite something. Just when it looks like Arcade Fire, on a high after victory at the Grammy and Brit awards, are set to become The Biggest Band In The World, the Oxford five-piece confirm that their eighth album isn’t only done, but yours for a few bucks in mere seconds – no need to get dressed, let alone leave the house. When it looks like teenage hip hop crew Odd Future are going to send Twitter into meltdown on the back of an alarming video, these old-timers position their own promo clip online, sit back and watch social networks collapse under the weight of a million thumbs-in-a-frenzy sorts expressing their adoration.


Their grasp of timing, in an arrangements-versus-attentions sense, is equally remarkable. Just as 2007’s In Rainbows shaved several minutes from the run-time of the preceding Hail to the Thief, so The King of Limbs cuts the(ir) full-length form down to a concise eight tracks and 37 minutes. It’s the band’s shortest-ever album, perfectly tuned to the listener of the 21st century – perhaps more likely to listen to music on the way in or out of work, on a commute, than at their leisure with a nice glass of red. Of course, the digital distribution of the band’s previous LP was so successful that this set was sure to follow a similar release pattern – something tangible will follow in March – but this is a remarkably neat-and-tidy package. Perhaps it wasn’t sequenced with succinctness in mind; but that it does its job in a short space of time is important.


Because if The King of Limbs dragged its… limbs… for too much longer, the impression left might be very different. For five tracks this album unfolds in a manner very similar to In Rainbows’ memorable array of electro-chirrups and synth-sweeps, all glitches and groans where, a decade previous, Radiohead were very much A Guitar Band. The staggering, off-kilter step of opener Bloom might not click with those holding a candle for The Return of the Gallagher a week from this record’s release, but to anyone with even half an ear tuned to In Rainbows it’ll seem very (although not over-) familiar indeed. Morning Mr Magpie plucks its way into a Foals-ian spin, the masters seemingly taking on board a few tips from their hometown pupils. Lotus Flower – the source of #thomdance Twitter activity once its video was unveiled – is another piece that looks backwards rather than projecting into bold, new sonic territories. It flails and flaps, but in a manner entirely in keeping with its makers’ predilection for the metronomic – to the wrong ears, it’s five minutes of the same beat, utterly unremarkable.


But that’s the beauty of Radiohead – they’ve never, certainly not since the breakthrough days of Creep, been a band for the people. They’re too idiosyncratic for that, and even though there are moments aplenty here that suggest the band hasn’t furthered their vision, subtle differences to a tested formula ensure The King of Limbs is another great album from Britain’s most consistently brilliant band. And come Codex, it truly strikes the listener dumb. Like Motion Picture Soundtrack, Street Spirit, Sail to the Moon, Nude – insert your own favourite slow-paced Radiohead numb-er here – it’s a piece of rarefied beauty. Thom says something about dragonflies, something else about nobody getting hurt; the words blur and blend, though, as beneath them the simplest, most strikingly gorgeous piano motif bores its way into the heart. And it’s here, not any of your limited-character blogging or video-sharing sites, that Radiohead trump all comers, again.

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Radiohead's The King of Limbs hardly sounds like a band breaking new ground



Radiohead's The King of Limbs ... Business as usual?


Radiohead – The King of Limbs: First review


Radiohead's The King of Limbs hardly sounds like a band breaking new ground


Radiohead's release schedule is not, you imagine, geared towards helping music critics. Minimal warnings, last-minute changes of plan and confusing announcements posted on Twitter in Japanese – does Thom Yorke not realise we have tight deadlines? The end result is a mad-rush by critics, bloggers and Tweet-freaks to be first to post their opinion on The King of Limbs' eight tracks. Trouble is, Radiohead don't make music designed for a hurried listen. A couple more plays down the line and the opinions you read here may be subject to change.


The King of Limbs begins in a manner that will no doubt make both Radiohead fans and critics smile – a looped piano riff reminiscent of Philip Glass is interrupted by crackly interference before disjointed rhythms and bleeps cascade over it. It's an abstract, awkward introduction of the sort that has become so synonymous with the Oxford band that Vice magazine felt able to send them up this week with a spoof "first review" (sample line: "P£T£R P£PP£R is Thom Yorke's deeply personal reaction to the events of the banking crisis, while Johnny Greenwood plays a timpani with a zither").


Still, bands don't become stadium-sized cult heroes if they're nothing more than avant-garde soundscapers. And 30 seconds into Bloom, the track shuffles itself around and falls into place, haphazard noises settling down into a repetitive drum march as Thom Yorke announces himself.


There is much here that will please the 'Head faithful, who will delight in the claustrophobic likes of Morning Mr Magpie and Little By Little. But you don't have to be a diehard fan to see the worth in Codex, a beautiful melody brought into focus by the band's decision to dispense of the usual trimmings in favour of piano and ghostlike effects. Closing track Separator – propelled by wandering bass and a bright guitar figure – ensures the album closes far more strongly than it opens.


These songs occupy an emotional terrain that Radiohead have mapped out as their own and – to their credit – others have failed to copy. What's disappointing, however, is that the band – so often held up as musical mavericks operating in the mainstream – have failed to come up with anything that might surprise us this time. Early albums such as The Bends, OK Computer and Kid A carved out a radical new direction. Since then Radiohead have settled into a sound – abstract lyrics, jittery rhythms, echoes of leftfield electronica – meaning that this teeters on the brink of self-parody.


Their last album, 2007's In Rainbows, was perhaps the best of Radiohead's later releases, incorporating a more human (not to mention melodic) touch. Any hints that some light and shade was beginning to appear in the Radiohead canon have been largely snuffed out here, which is disappointing. Yes, you can still marvel that one of the world's biggest bands are releasing music totally lacking in commercial concerns. And yes, they're still leading the pack when it comes to releasing music in an exciting, innovative way. But whereas their business model is unusual, there's a nagging feeling that The King of Limbs is more like business as usual.



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Radiohead ‘The King of Limbs’ REVIEW…another disappointing lazy effort!


Artist: Radiohead

Album: The King of Limbs

Rating: 3.5/10


It’s been four years since Radiohead’s last “magnum mope-us”, the pay-what-you-want IN RAINBOWS.


You’d think that nearly half a decade would provide sufficient enough time to come up with something that could satiate the public’s rabid desire for a new direction from their favourite group… it didn’t have to be the next OK Computer (it would’ve been nice, but it didn’t have to be), but just not more of the same nebulous noodling of the last decade.


Well, in short, that didn’t happen…. Here’s the song-by-song break down:


Bloom: Simple and repetitive march beat underpinned by swirling organs, a nice clean sounding brass section weaving in an out and a few obligatory tape loops. Tuneless, but listenable.


Morning Mr. Magpie: They pick up the pace with a frenetically plucked chewy sounding guitar riff. Yorke seems to have awoken a little from his coma, spouting the lyrically aggressive, “You got some nerve coming here”. The drums work against the riff. It seems as if they’ve purposefully overcomplicated the rhythms for an anxiety-inducing effect. Again, long on repetition, short on melody.


Little by Little: The first song with something that could be construed a chord progression, albeit a minor one. Once again, they play with battling rhythm patterns: the guitars strum laboredly against an insistent high-hat beat, while Yorke incoherently wails, in his inimitable way.


Feral: The same beat continues, or at least it’s indiscernible from the prior track. This time, however, the guitars have dropped out and are replaced with some atmospheric synth noise which is every now and again punctuated by Yorke’s even more incoherent mumbling. No melody at all, unless you consider moaning a melody.


Lotus Flower: The beat mercifully switches up, after what seems like an eternity, but only slightly. Yorke actually sings something resembling a melody, backed by more loops and keyboards. This is the first track that has evoked some kind of emotion and would fit nicely as an incidental song in a neo-noir film.


Codex: Introduces the first real organic sounding instrument as the piano takes over as the main instrument on this one. Basically it’s a few minor chords, strengthened by that nice clean brass section sound again. It has a smoky echo-drenched feel, sounds kind of like a late 50s Miles Davis record played backwards.


Give up the Ghost: First (and only) appearance of an acoustic guitar liltingly strumming variations of the D chord. This time there is more than one vocal track, which are working against each other rhythmically, which seems to be one of the musical themes.


Separator: And so the album ends with yet another “song” comprised of a rhythmic pattern repeated ad nauseum, albeit this is one the strongest; sounding a little like a tiny squashed version of the Beatles, Tomorrow Never Knows”. Somewhere towards the middle a Wurlitzer piano and guitar come in, and for a moment you think this might be going somewhere, but alas it just drifts back in the ether again fading away like the rest of the tracks. Leaving the listener either in a deep sleep, a heavy mood or extremely bored…


These are not songs folks, at best these are soundscapes; recordings for a really boring film.


I know I’m going to get the usual shit from fanboys and girls spewing their usual “You just don’t get it!”, to which I say, ANYONE who defends this album doesn’t “get it”.


Because there’s nothing to get… except the emperor’s new clothes.


Radiohead was an extremely gifted band who produced two of the greatest rock albums of the last 20 years in The Bends and OK Computer and have been running away from those successes ever since for whatever their reason.


Maybe they’re afraid of coming up short if they actually sat down and tried to make a cohesive set of actual songs, or maybe, which is probably closer to the truth, their heads are just so far crammed up their collective asses that they don’t know any better.


They have become the miminalist painters of the late 60s-early 70s shitting out a few notes here and there and pronouncing it art, or rather their fans and adoring critics pronounce it art.


But my friends, this is not art… it’s fart. The gaseous over-intellectualized ramblings of a pathologically lazy band.


I know, I know… the usual suspects will call me a crass musical philistine, but this is just not the case… My ear is trained to the weird… I will listen to an hour of actual noise if it is interesting or composed creatively. Hell I’ve listened to ALL of Metal Machine Music… I’ve got the badge to prove it. It’s not that. What it is at the end of the day, is this is a boring repetitive album, and not in a good way.


It’s literally impossible not to be cynical after listening to it.


The only reason I’m rating it as high as I am is because conceptually it is consistent. They have removed themselves completely from every song and left a reduction of free floating elements working as one unmemorable noise.


The infuriating thing about it is the elements have the potential to be coalesced into something so, so much better. If only they had the guts to do so.



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lol at those reviews.... you know what's the problem? people expecting and expecting, saying this thing is bad cause it doesn't rock, cause the songs don't end in huge sounding full band breakdowns (let down, you and whose army...), cause ''jonny doesn't shine'', cause there were better songs they haven't included... oh come on, move on, accept Radiohead is not a ROCK band anymore! radiohead is a RADIOHEAD band now, is there anything more unique than this? which band has the guts to release a concept album without including any song that doesn't fit the theme, no matter how great it might be? which band has the power to reinvent themselves in every album they release? when you have real reasons to critizice King of Limbs, do it, but recurring to the expectations to bash something is just plain ridiculous. wait for the following LP to include your beloved present tense, if you want, but LP8 is here and it's fucking huge.

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