Sound — 8
Following their hit 1993 single "Creep" and it's moderately successful accompanying album Pablo Honey, Radiohead went on a long tour during which the development of their next album, The Bends, began. In the meantime, the band became increasingly frustrated with their pegging as a one-hit wonder and having to play "Creep" night after night. In response to this, Thom wrote "My Iron Lung," criticizing the shallow fans that made the song a success in the first place. The band then laid down seven additional tracks, 3 of them purely acoustic and released it as the My Iron Lung EP in 1994.
Lyrics — 7
The album starts off with "My Iron Lung," a song that showcases guitarist Jonny Greenwood's ethereal effects and pedal mastery and some of Thom's more twisted wordplay. This track would later make a reappearance on 1995's The Bends. Next up is "The Trickster", whose arpeggiated chords and vocal stylings call Muse to mind at points. Lewis (Mistreated) plods along in a typical mid-'90s alt rock way, a simple jangly pop-rocker. The real highlight of this album is the creepy atmospheric "Punchdrunk Lovestruck Singalong," alternating between quiet verses accented with moody slide guitar and near-whispered vocals from Yorke. The effect here completely disarms you when the bombastic chorus finally kicks in, with Yorke delivering some of his most memorable wailing. "Permanent Daylight" comes off as a Sonic Youth tribute. The guitar tunings here are strange and overdubbed enough to create a wall of white noise. It's more interesting than enjoyable. The next two tracks are acoustic mood piece, played possibly solo by Thom. The last track is an acoustic version of Creep played for a radio session in 1993. Though Thom goes off-key at points, it still makes for an easy listen, as well as providing an easier version of the song to play for budding guitarists.
Overall Impression — 8
My Iron Lung marks a transition from the generic alt-rock of Pablo Honey to the stadium rock of The Bends. This is an essential addition to your collection if you're a Radiohead fan, but the full-length albums are recommended over this EP for casual listeners.