Radiohead announced ‘The King Of Limbs’ only four days before its release on the February 14th and sparked mass interest on the Internet. There was very little known about the eigth full-length album as it hadn’t been marketed as you would fully expect for an album by such a big band as Radiohead. Immediately fans of the band began to speculate as to the direction of the record musically, whether it would be a quirky electro sounding record or a more guitar and song driven record like the 90s classic, ‘OK Computer’.
Upon hearing this album, it’s obvious that there’ll be no guitar heroics performed by Johnny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien. Instead, guitars are swapped for glitchy, hypnotic electronics; a sound that Radiohead have made their own over the last few years. As a complete album, ‘The King Of Limbs’ falls more together than previous release ‘In Rainbows’. Due to the nature of the way the songs are played, it’s a more flowing listening experience, tracks merge effortlessly into each other which brings more harmony to the record.
The first track that really stands out on this record is the fluttering ‘Morning Mr. Magpie’. The palm-muted looped guitar creates an enthralling soundscape that lies mesmerizingly behind the entrancing vocal lines of Thom Yorke. This is by far the most memorable song on the album, and highlights how Radiohead can write an anthemic and catchy song without it rising above a delicate feel. The album’s first single ‘Lotus Flower’ repeats the same trick. The band create a repetitive and catchy backing track to lie underneath Yorke‘s gorgeous vocals. He really demonstrates the range of his voice when on the chorus he croons “Slowly we unfurl, as lotus flowers / ’cause all I want is the moon upon a stick”.
‘The King Of Limbs’ is a truly beautiful album. It doesn’t have any of the anthems that ‘Pablo Honey’ or ‘OK Computer’ contained; there’s certainly not another ‘Creep’ in these eight tracks. The chances are that Radiohead won’t write another album with a leading hit, so you should sit back and enjoy the musical bliss that they’ve mastered. For what it lacks in peaks and troughs, ‘The King Of Limbs’ contains something that most bands fail to capture: every track is as blissful and moving as the next.
Radiohead are the masters of what they do, there’s no band who can stand shoulder to shoulder with them. All should kneel before ‘The King Of Limbs’.
Written by Josh Peett