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Albums Reviews


King of Limbs
Independent Release
[Three stars]

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Mar 11, 2011

It’s become all too predictable, today the Radiohead drift is one devoid of inventive expression and disarming nerve. This Oxfordshire quintet is far from fading out but dangerously slipping into an ennui-ridden soundsphere. King of Limbs faithfully employs the abstract, cubist aesthetic that distinguishes Radiohead from prog-rock’s hoi polloi. But it becomes complacent within the absurdist niche it carved for itself, the distinctive style is reprised but not revitalised. For the most part the dizzying vortex of electronic patches, thick sludgy bass loops and guitar abandon collapse into finely diced nimble grooves. On first impressions King of Limbs chains a dumbed down encore to In Rainbows. Dodging the layers, a meditative listen crystallizes subtle niceties stealthily pressed within these compositions ”“ but most of them are overshadowed by the epic distinction of predecessors in ”˜House of Cards,’ ’15 Step,’ ”˜All I Need,’ and ”˜Videotape’. Songs like ”˜Little by Little,’ ”˜Bloom’ and ”˜Separator’ sound like a recycled bunch. So while this eighth studio album makes for more than just an engaging listen it does not earn an authoritative spot on Radiohead’s illustrious catalogue. But Thom Yorke’s songbook is still abounding with ingenious verse for the underdog, the unrequited and the lone wolf. As most Radiohead albums come with the promise of redemption for the Prozac generation, King of Limbs is sublime therapy for depressives. ”˜Lotus Flower’ ”“ the most promoted track from the album which comes with a video flattering Yorke’s eccentricities, tics and quirks – beautifully ravels Yorke’s overwhelming dirge, “I can’t kick the habit/listen to your fat ballooning head/listen to your heart.” As Yorke soliloquises on the piano on ”˜Codex’ he adopts a snatch of Richard Ashcroft’s frayed vocal strain on sonnets. The real catch on King of Limbs is the slow burning ”˜Give up the Ghost.’ Yorke enchants, his piping vocals echo and soar ”“ ”˜Don’t hurt me/In your arms’ ”“ in the warm company of – the twang and thump of – an acoustic guitar.

Key Tracks: ”˜Give up the Ghost’ and ”˜Lotus Flower’

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