Sound — 8
This latest Radiohead release, The King of Limbs, hasn't even technically been released in stores yet, but thanks to the internet, it is available to buy on Radiohead's official website, and even to be illegally downloaded. This album takes a step away from the band's more traditional sound, walking the thin line between their classic albums and Thom Yorke's The Eraser, thus achieving a new sound, though still bearing a slight resemblance to Hail to the Thief throughout. The album features a compressed sound and prominent basslines, resulting in a slightly amateurish sound yet a very groovy, experimental sound. The album starts off perfectly with Bloom, a psychedelic, almost hallucinogenic, number, which bears some resemblance to bands such as Portishead with its trippy, slightly electronic sound. The album then seamlessly merges into Good Morning Mr. Magpie, my favourite track off the album, which features heavy, groovy, yet somehow pleasing riffage, unlike anything I've heard before. The album moves on into Little by Little, a more traditional piece bearing a striking resemblance to Optimistic off Kid A, yet still carries with it the innovative spirit of the album, resulting in a very interesting track. In a leap into the experimental, Feral, as its name suggests, has a very primitive, in a good way, sound to it, with a relentless, driving back-beat and melodic chanting, giving it a very romantic quality, yet in a seemingly counter-productive fashion, featuring a very electronic sound, resulting in one of the most interesting tracks on the album. Stepping slightly closer to The Eraser's sound, Lotus Flower, the lead single off the album, features a very prominent bassline and very melodic singing. The track also has a very charming video, featuring Thom Yorke drunkenly dancing along to the music. The album continues into Codex, a quiet, piano driven, piece, resembling tracks such as Videotape off In Rainbows, and in my opinion should have been used to end the album. Segue into Give Up the Ghost, the first track revealed off the album. Played live many times by Thom, who played all of the parts himself, this song really walks the line between their traditional and newer sound. The album ends in what should have been witched, in my opinion, with Codex, Separator. A quiet song too, this song has a more indie sound, resembling bands like Broken Social Scene and Menomena, but leaves the album feeling unfinished, incomplete, though that may be a brilliant marketing ploy to get people to buy the newspaper edition.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics in this album are unclear at best, being at their vaguest in Radiohead history, and Thom's mumbling singing doesn't help that fact. The lyrics give a feeling of belonging when paired with the music, which leads me to think the lyrics were written to compliment the music, and not the other way round. Thom, as usual, displays a wide range of dynamics and tonality, singing perfectly in every song, in a way only an 18 year veteran of the music industry can do. Especially impressive are his vocalisations in Feral.
Overall Impression — 10
All in all, I found The King of Limbs to be a great album, and I was impressed that even after such a long time, the band manages to innovate their music and avoid being repetitive, all the while still catering to their original fanbase, and still staying as popular as ever. I recommend listening to the album as a whole, and several times, as this album takes time to sink in.