On the 14th of February, 2011, there was a collective spurt of heart attacks worldwide by indie hipsters, artsy farts and music lovers alike. The reason is because the king of alternative rock/experimental/electronic/please-kill-me-now-music rockers from Abingdon, Oxfordshire are back.

Radiohead released “The King Of Limbs”, their latest and eighth studio album via their website at http://www.thekingoflimbs.com. However, this time they are dropping the “pay how much you want” system; probably because they found out the majority of their fans being “kiasu” aunties (shame on you!). The CD is available now in digital format and will be available later as a special “Newspaper Album”, with an extra load of content thrown in i.e. special artwork.

Being fans ourselves and feeling as excited as you are, ActuallyMAG will take up the challenge to review the latest offering from Radiohead.

The album opens with a chilling reverberating piano intro into the first song. In typical Radiohead-fashion in recent years, the electronic beats come into the song and then slowly and seamlessly mash in with the drums. The first lyrics, with that slurring by Thom Yorke that we all love, “Open your mouth wide/A universal sigh” had our mouths literally wide open.

The second and third track, “Morning Mr. Magpie” and “Little By Little” departs from the mood and slower tempo of the opener track. The songs get more upbeat and the use of electronic beats is less significant in the two tracks. The musicianship and cohesiveness of the band is very clearly demonstrated in the two tracks. The fourth track, “Feral”, is an instrumental track from the band. An assortment of electronic beats and random recordings of Thom’s slurrings/whisperings are heard throughout the song.

And now, the fifth track and first single off the album comes “Lotus Flower”. If you don’t already know, there is an incredible video of Thom dancing to it. For the entire video. If you haven’t seen it already, please do yourself a favour and watch it (preferably on HD so you can mimic him better).

Moving on to the sixth track, “Codex” takes on a completely different stance than the previous. It is much slower and ethereal-like, with the complimenting haunting piano chords completing the spaced out effect of the song.

“Give Up The Ghost”, the seventh track of the record, is the first and only track off the album to feature the acoustic guitar. The reverberating effect of Thom’s voice supported by the soft plucking and strumming of the guitar proves to be almost therapeutic.

The final track off the album, “Separator”, sheds the solemnity as imposed by the previous two tracks. However, the lyrics they speak the same. “It’s like I’m falling out of bed/From a long, weary dream” and “I fell open/I laid under/At the tip out/I was just a number” very clearly depicts the character of the song being strung out and confused. It gives you the effect that the character in the song is held in limbo and asking for help.

All in all, the album is fantastic. It was the feeling of listening to a new Radiohead song that leaves the tingly sensation you get, making your hairs stand on end. The majority of the songs all end in a similar fashion where they just very subtly and quietly die out, which adds on to the astral vibe of the album in our opinion. “The King Of Limbs” was an easy listen from start to finish. The wooings and cooings of Thom Yorke were dearly missed and very adequately felt in the tracks of the album. The album follows an ethereal and dream-like theme, so it differs from their “The Bends”/”OK Computer” era.

We very highly recommend our readers – Radiohead fanboys or not –  to give this album a try, and buying the official album at http://www.thekingoflimbs.com.

- Toke is a Singapore based peasant.

Image credit: http://laughingsquid.com/

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