Radiohead's Surprise Album is an Expected Delight
By SEAN COLLIGAN
With only a few days’ notice to the public, Radiohead released their eighth studio album, “The King of Limbs,” on Feb. 18.
After almost four years of “blogosphere” rumors from Thom Yorke and company concerning the much-anticipated follow-up to 2007’s “In Rainbows.”
Of course, this is just one more example of the unique marketing strategies the band have employed since dropping from their label in favor of independently producing their follow-up to 2003’s “Hail to the Thief.”
But the big question was, could the follow-up to “In Rainbows” live up to the hype?
Fortunately, yet not unexpectedly, it does. True to form, Radiohead has produced an album that provides exactly what fans crave.
The album opener “Bloom,” as well as later tracks such as “Feral” and “Lotus Flower” deliver richly textured melodies over hypnotic rhythms, all of which accompanied only by Yorke’s echoing, often distorted vocals.
This form of songwriting is exactly what made the majority of the songs on previous albums like “Kid A,” “Amnesiac” and “In Rainbows” so successful.
Even so, this does not mean they aren’t afraid to go back to their roots, which they demonstrate in the simple, acoustic “Give up the Ghost.”
However, the tried and true aspects of any band’s newest work are nowhere near as important as the new ideas they bring to the table.
Thankfully, “Limbs” does not disappoint there either. The dark melodies emanating from the echoing guitars in “Little By Little” combine with Yorke’s haunting lyrics to create a sound new to Radiohead’s work, not to mention the unique instrumentation used in the brilliantly arranged album highlight, “Codex.”
Yet, despite all of this album’s victories, something still seems to be missing.
Call me hard to please, but while the experimentation Radiohead has exhibited here is nothing short of spectacular, eight tracks hardly do it justice.
The elaborate compositions on “Limbs” are sold short by clocking in at a little over half an hour collectively.
Still, while looking at the big picture, “The King of Limbs” is nothing short of a triumph that, at the very least, can rival the success of “In Rainbows.”
And though the album left me craving more, the closing track “Separator” leaves fans with something to anticipate as Thom Yorke’s vocals echo, “If you think this is over, then you’re wrong.”
4.5 stars out of 5