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In Rainbows

Well this album has rocked my world, and Radiohead are one of the few remaining bands on my "must see before I die" list which has incidentally got a lot smaller with the U2 show last year, Muse coming up, Tool ticked a while ago, two Rage against the Machine gigs booked, and rumours of Mutemath being at Big Day Out.

So anyway, I signed up for this album before it was released, and thanks to my blackberry and wireless I was listening to it shortly after I got the email with my download link. I loved that you could pay whatever you wanted for the album, I flicked them $10 for their troubles. It was a pretty trippy first listen as I was absolutely shattered after a day at a conference in Christchurch, and was in that "twilight drifting off to sleep" zone, and actually fell asleep as the last song finished. But probably one of the more moving first listens of an album I have had. I was stunned.

Im not going to go through all the tracks, but a few deserve a mention.
The opener "15 Steps" is a great song, and threw me a bit as I thought the album might have being another Kid A - Amnesiac style of album. But it seems that Thom Yorke has got a lot of that out of his system through his solo work (the amazing Eraser). As soon as the guitar drops in I was sold. Big call, but I would call it the almost perfect radiohead song.
"Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" is another stand out for me, with a few unexpected turns, and a wide lush sound. I love that these guys can do the whole "musical journey" thing with their songs.
"Nude" is great, I sit there waiting for the piano to kick in ( at 2:45) and then enjoy the minute of hugeness.
House of Cards is pretty nice, and once you hit this point in the album you are normally "in the zone". Some Sigur Ross style guitars in there.

Listening to this album through headphones was pretty impressive. A very wide stereo spread, most guitars are panned hard left and right, and no surprises in that they are using some very nice gear. Tone dripping off the speakers :)

A reason its a stand out album is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Nearly every track is stunning, and the tracks seem to work into each other making the whole album an experience rather than just some tracks. Only a few other bands have really done this. From the top of my head, Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Wall, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, (feel free to throw in your five cents here).
This band is also in the genius category because the guys know when not to play as well as when to crank it. For five guys to sit on their hands for most a of a track, and allow the song heaps of room to breathe is pretty amazing. There is a lot of space on this album.

The album is probably Radioheads most accessible work, and out of that comes my one beef. I wish that some songs were longer. It feels like they hit this incredible sweet spot in nearly every other song in terms of a trippy jam that starts building, but it feels like they refrain from staying in outer space for whatever reason.

It doesnt have any artwork, but you can browse through a whole bunch of ideas here. Chris Darnell voted for the work on the left as his favourite and being the little sheep that I am, its the one on my ipod as the album cover.

If you havent already, you can download the album here.

“In Rainbows”

  1. Blogger BK Says:

    this is the best album I have heard in AGES!!
    having always appreciated Radiohead & acknowledged their prowess, I was never a die-hard-buy-the-album-as-soon-as-it-came-out kinda fan... enjoyed Kid A... got over Amnesiac, into Eraser but wished Thom would lighten up a little...

    and he has!

    so good. have played it every day this week, at least once.

    highlights for me: Bodysnatchers (mmm, hit me with that rock stick), then the 3 in a row: All I Need, Faust Arp & Reckoner.

    and I totally agree about the stereo sound action, superb.

    my faith in music is secured.

  2. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Great review bro.

    I'd never really bothered with Radiohead till this one coz it seemed like the trendy thing to be into them.... but a friend convinced me I'd become a big fan if I gave this one a listen especially (he said) because I'd like the values of the band.

    He was right, I downloaded the album and love it!