I haven’t done one of these in a while. Here’s my first listen reaction to Radiohead’s the King of Limbs. My opinion will probably change over time, but there’s nothing quite like hearing a new album for the first time, particularly when Thom Yorke is involved.
A weak opener I must say. I hope the entire album isn’t like this. In Rainbows was probably Radiohead’s most accessible record, so hopefully this one won’t counterbalance that by being the least. If this song is your first introduction to Radiohead (if it is shame on you), then you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.
‘Morning Mr Magpie’
Now this is better. Much more beat-driven, much more friendly on the ear. Hints of Hail to the Thief, and an utterly gorgeous latter half have redeemed them after a disappointing beginning.
‘Little By Little’
Oasis had a song of the same name out in 2002, it was off their crap album, Heathen Chemistry. Amazingly, the chorus in this sounds a small bit similar. Just a very small bit. The rest of it is pure Radiohead though.
The title describes this one perfectly. It’s like the onomatopoeia of a Heaney poem, the name of this one describes the song. It’s a wild, mangled, untamed song, which you’ll never hear on any radio station. It’s probably the song most likely to receive the “skip” treatment.
We saw the video just an hour or two ago, so had some little time to familiarise ourselves with it. The lead single, it has Yorke’s vocals teasing at the heady days of OK Computer, but the melody and beats are more In Rainbows-era Radiohead.
I was not expecting this, particularly after the first half of the album. A much slower song, it’s a mysterious, yet achingly beautiful tune, that will probably be the song we keep returning to. It’s like a much-improved version of ‘Videotape’. The highlight so far.
‘Give Up the Ghost’
Another slow-burner, this one has been a live staple for a while, and doesn’t sound all that different on the album. Which is disappointing. I would’ve preferred a brand new tune, or had they totally reimagined this one. It’s a bit dull to be honest.
Another floaty track, ending the album well. It’s a sparse song, but is a beautiful tune nonetheless. Vocal effects are a big disjointed, but adds to the charm of such a stripped-back song. The riff that kicks in half-way through is gorgeous.
That’s it. Listen #1 of The King of Limbs over. In Rainbows grabbed me more on first listen, but I feel that this album might have a lot more to discover underneath. Definitely not disappointing, but it is a bit patchy (blame Harry).