FEATURE: The King of Limbs – first impressions

This is not a review.

I know well enough that Radiohead’s records can take weeks, months, maybe even years, to fully take hold in my mind. Even then, I constantly hear new things. I’m constantly drawn into new elements of songs. Constantly entranced by the way that Radiohead can make music that truly rewards repeat listens. So it seems pointless for me to pretend to review it now, when my thoughts will have probably changed in a week.

The music press seem to have gone beserk in an effort to maximise the number of hits they receive on their websites – everyone wants to know what Rolling Stone, NME, or The Guardian think. It almost seems to jeopardise their integrity as music journalists if you ask me. I don’t honestly believe anyone can fairly review an album when it has been released for under twelve hours, especially a Radiohead album. Maybe it’s just me. But, I guess they’re getting paid and have to do as they’re told.

Anyway, as I don’t think I’ll be reviewing The King of Limbs anytime soon, I decided to give my initial thoughts on the album.

The King of Limbs is most definitely a return to the more experimental side of Radiohead’s music – especially the first half of the album. It’s all layered rather deeply. As obtuse and out-there as it may seem on first listen, the transition between the first and second half of the album shows the kind of diversity we’ve come to expect from Radiohead. The contrast created gives the album a life of its own – like much of their previous work. It’s not just a collection of songs, but an album. It’s easy to pick it apart and find very small, common threads with their back-catalogue, but the reality is that this is another re-invention of the band. It explores new ground.

I’m convinced The King of Limbs will reward repeat listens. It will throw new fans, and some established fans as well, but anyone who knows how Radiohead work will know that they have to give it time. I think, given time, this album will work its way into my head, and the heads of many other fans,  and will quite possibly climb up my list of favourite albums.

We’ll have to wait and see.

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