I’m a huge Radiohead fan, and in true fan boy fashion salivate at the mere mention of any potential album.
It was the same for King of Limbs. I had a feeling this one was going to be different – even by Radiohead standards.
Turns out that feeling was more right than I could have imagined.
Not since Kid A have I struggled with a Radiohead album so much. To like, or not to like? While there is much to like, some of the tracks seem lackluster, and the direction they took was quite unexpected.
The lyrics, as usual, are amazing, in Radiohead’s unique cryptic fashion – minimalistic, alluding, and never daring to say anything outright. It perfectly fits with the glitchy, erratic soundscape. The album is very reminiscent of Yorke’s Eraser. But King of Limbs seems more like Yorke’s album than Radiohead’s. Not to say the rest of the band isn’t present – Selway’s drumming really shines and Colin Greenwood’s basswork is phenomenal, though his brother Jonny’s influence is sadly not as evident.
The album’s quality songs rises toward the middle. Highlights are “Bloom,” “Little by Little,” and especially “Lotus Flower” and “Codex,” the latter song probably the most classically Radiohead of them all. It features a piano leading the chord changing charge amid the swooping rising and falling of the background.
I think the many comparisons made between King of Limbs and Kid A/Amnesiac are warranted. Limbs is highly experimental in nature, and is the only Radiohead album that doesn’t outright rock. Even Kid A and Amnesiac did that, which I think is a crux of what makes Limbs so different.
I applaud Radiohead for continuing to mix things up and do their own thing. That is part of the thrill of a new Radiohead album – they never do quite what you expected.
The verdict: King of Limbs is definitely worth the listen. It’s still Radiohead, it’s still good, and is probably still worth your money.