Radiohead released their 8th album, online, recently and what didja know? It sounded exactly like everything that came out since Kid A. Now I know what you’re thinking, “How can you pass judgment on Radiohead?” I can and I will, despite not meeting the bugged-eyed Yorkey or reading the same books as him, because as a true Radiohead fan (sans everything after OK Computer), I have to defend their honour.
These days almost every cool, nerdy, plausibly-bisexual indie chick would name Radiohead amongst their favourite bands. But back when they first hit the scene, ol’ Yorke was a spazz-out freak. Unlike Lou Reed who took several decades to detox, Yorkey’s ascension from early ’90s alt Brit rock hero – their answer to Green Day, ‘Just’ was totally punk, man – to serious activist-artist was relatively fast. One minute he’s a ‘Creep’ and the next he’s penetrating the World Climate Change Conference, scaring even the members of Phish.
Like Yorke’s artistic growth, King Of Limbs is in stark contrast with The Bends. A commenter on Metacritic.com said “It’s like Radiohead, but with none of the catchy parts… if you want to hear the mood Radiohead is going for done musically, listen to PJ Harvey’s new album, Let England Shake“. But to be fair, if you like the wrist-slitting stuff on Kid A and Amnesiac and some of the romanticised sh!t on In Rainbows (like ‘House Of Cards’), then King Of Limbs would probably entice you into electronic sludge heaven. Before you know it, the 8-tracks on this 38-minute record are over and the world is pretty much the same shitty place that you left behind half an hour ago.
In 2007, the pay-what-you-want-for-it album In Rainbows attracted much media attention. Now with King being marketed as a “newspaper album” (God knows how that’ll work), it’ll be interesting to see how many indie scenester kids with iPhones are going to download this. Radiohead knows that there are no real Karma Police out there in the music world. And that’s why they can cash in and practically pass anything off as an album today and get away it.
That, and there are way too many confused indie kids out there who seem to like bands after they’ve past their prime.
To order a copy of King Of Limbs, go to www.thekingoflimbs.com.