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.


NEWS: So, as I mentioned – Radiohead!

Wow. Just wow.

Last night, news reached me via Twitter that Radiohead had finally made plans to release their 8th full length – entitled The King of Limbs. They sure know how to keep a surprise! I’d been waiting for an announcement like this for quite some time, but didn’t expect it so soon.

Interestingly, Radiohead have dropped the “pay-what-you-want” model in favour of just asking for a bit of money. There are two packs available – a digital download, and a gigtantic-enormous-mega-super-deluxe package, which includes vinyl pressings, a CD, the digital download on the 19th of February, and of course a tonne of awesome sounding artwork! Personally, I’d like to purchase the latter, but I’ll have to see how it goes. I hope they sell CD’s invidividually later anyway.

The band have also come under minor scrutiny from other artists and figures because of their markup on the price of digital copies. You can buy the album digitally as .mp3 or .wav files, you see. And the .wav files are more expensive than the .mp3 files. That could be to compensate for the bandwidth costs associated with distributing the larger files, but many claim it’s a ridiculous markup. I think I speak for the larger proportion of the music-loving society when I say – really, who cares? THIS IS RADIOHEAD. They are going to make a bucket load of money off this anyway, I seriously doubt the markup was motivated by pure greed.

Anyway. 19th of February. Pre-order your copies now people. This is going to be awesome.