By Devin Duckworth | February 19th, 2011
Album after album, this Oxford quintet has flawlessly rendered music that speaks to who they are without being brashly obvious and overbearing. Artfully crafted and almost immediately accessible to the public, The King of Limbs is the gentle adventure of weirdness that every Radiohead fan anticipates and falls in love with.
Stoned, hypnotizing and ethereally pleasing, this album goes out to all of the In Rainbows, Kid A and Amnesiac fans with striking similarity but a fresh spin that takes on imagery of the natural world with cultural influence and a pristine inflection of jazz. The result is an album that is tenderly high-strung, sinister and harshly beautiful.
Here’s a track-by-track breakdown:
“Bloom” Opens with an echoing piano intro eventually settling into fast paced hypno-electro beats with Thom Yorke’s ghostlike harmonies echoing in the forefront. This track is the perfect inauguration; lushly synthetic and effortlessly delicate.
“Morning Mr. Magpie” Repeating bass chords that attract attention and vendetta-seeking lyrics that create a climactic panic (“You’ve got some nerve comin’ here”). The tempo alterations spark interest, but leave us hanging in the end.
“Little by Little” Right out of the door boasts that chunky Radiohead riff reminiscent to the opening in “Reckoner.” Sexy and equally as brash, this track can be unsettling at times but fights back with Yorke’s reassuring voice and endearing falsetto.
“Feral” Disheveled high-speed intro similar to “15 Step,” eventually building up with Yorke’s reverberated voice scattered all over the place, floating in and out, adding and subtracting sound. With frequent progression changes, this track is freakishly mesmerizing and exhausting at the same time.
“Lotus Flower” Subtle clapping paired with sleekly layered beats and beautiful high-pitched croons offer a brilliantly laid out track otherwise known as quintessential Radiohead.
“Codex” Low-key piano balancing with Yorke’s delicate voice offers a cosmic journey towards a magnificent memory, “jump off the end, the water’s clear and innocent.” The haunting beauty and lucidity of this song is enough to produce goose bumps and irrefutable adoration; it is undeniably my favorite track from the whole album.
“Give Up The Ghost” Bird chirps, acoustic guitar and opulent lyrical layering offer an ominously persuasive attitude that is uncomplicated and heartfelt.
“Separator” A dream-like soundscape of lighthearted singing and engrossing grooves: “Wake me up, like I’m falling out of bed from a long, weary dream.” The soft echo’s and slight guitar riffs match up perfectly with Yorke’s fervent desires creating a serene and emblematic closer. The closing line “If you think this is over, you’re wrong” makes us think that Radiohead might have something up their sleeve…