I thought with my King Of Limbs review I might as well do a review for In Rainbows as a compliment to why I prefer this album over any other Radiohead album and why I rated King Of Limbs how I did.
Thom Yorke sings ‘How come I end up where I started?’ as the pounding rhythm punches in as the 5/4 time signature instantly starts sending waves of manic dance through your frame. ’15 Step’ features some soothing guitar playing with emanating swirls from Ed O Brien, as the whole band have truly refined the unrestrictive collaborative effort where each pitch in the track in various ways. With a Lo fi distorted guitar chugging at the start of ‘Bodysnatchers’ the main riff that strikes through out is highly blissful and the more down to earth rock song feels in place on a Radiohead album despite not truly doing anything this grungy since their first effort Pablo Honey. Kind of a hippie rock song with industrial influence.
UPDATE: Wanted to extend my section on Bodysnatchers. Thom said it is kind of like ‘Neu!’, which is absolutely true. In fact it is a grunge version of the Neu! track ‘Hallogallo’.
‘Nude’ – this track is the hardest to explain personally. I literally feel cold. Not goosebumps. No. Naked. Bare. Exposed. The slow dub bass rhythms with Thom’s falsetto is tantalising and speaks of trying harder than one might and the vulnerability that leaves behind – possibly why it makes me feel bare. The minor to major progression on A Flat is similar to that of other Radiohead songs but I think no other Radiohead song sounds as bare as this. “You’ll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking” listen out for that line, it is soaring! My personal indulgence of the album and my most played. The song is technically able to be played in reverse with the ending and start matching up.
‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’ is appropriately titled in that the main riff through the song is a series of chords over the same three strings plucked in Arpeggi. It builds and builds with a smattering of the 3 guitarists playing around different octaves and patterns to create a stereo vision of these chords. The slightly off time drum is a little annoying but it reflects the almost premature jumping of chords intended by the band. Possibly the ‘Karma Police’ on In Rainbows, dare I say. 3 minutes in the song turns to lullaby with what seems to be like a guitar underpinning a tenori-on. All of a sudden a more solid drum pattern kicks which continues through the song as it because less jaunty. The harp like looping guitar from Johnny Greenwood is the beauty of the end.
‘All I Need’ is a bit of a lacklustre song in some ways nevertheless it is a builder. It utilises a low in the mix sound of strings playing every note to blanket the frequencies. The bass line is pacing and the reverbs delightful. As it continues a piano and a glockenspiel join in. ‘Faust Arp’ is an acoustic guitar driven piece that may or may not have been recorded in the middle of a field (probably not). The orchestral arrangement and layering of vocals are lovely. Reckoner starts with some slightly harsh sounding percussion. It redefines some of the main aspects from the album. It fits well within it but it is personally my least favourite track. The bridge coda is where I really start to pay attention.
‘House Of Cards’ is a soothing exploration of sound, it features mellotron sounding guitars, warmth distortion and more evidence of Thom using his voice like a violin of sorts. ‘Jigsaw Falling Into Pieces’ is a faster tempo’d song that features the recurring dramatics of starting empty and filling up through the song. It is about meeting someone in a bar and connecting like a ‘Jigsaw Falling Into Place’.
‘Videotape’ is by far the best closure on an album in years! The simplistic piano riff that carries through the song is heightened by dramatic rhythmic patterns which echo the sound of an old VHS running through the mechanisms inside. The lyrics paint a vivid description of either an after screen obituary where you can only know that people are watching you after you have died or either a videotape where you can relive one moment before you pass on. Thom sings right into your very heart. The harmonies that kick in really add to the haunting movement of the song, like a choir at a funeral. The most effective lyric is, “this is the best way of saying goodbye, because I can’t do face to face.” or the one that shortly follows “Cos I know today has been the most perfect day I’ve ever seen.” Written in the key of C# Minor or A Aeolian (I think) , ‘Videotape’ paces itself brilliant and could not close a more magnificent any better.
Overall this is my personal favourite Radiohead album which might make my opinion a slight one sided. It has a melancholy charm in places, an estactic hyperactivity and imagery. There are lyrics so conveying you can’t help but fall in love, I theme of the album. If it had one track more and the tambourine on Reckoner wasn’t so harsh it might have got a ten.
UPDATE: 10/10, turns out that the tambourine on Reckoner I love now. What an absurd turn around.
- 15 Step
- Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
- Faust Arp
- All I Need
- House Of Cards
- Jigsaw Falling To Pieces