Radiohead | The King of Limbs

Self-released (2011)
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  March 3, 2011
2.0 2.0 Stars


Nineties rock was many things, but above all, it was a time when bands decided to stop thanking their fans for making them rich and famous, because fame is torture, and money means nothing, and the crush of expectation annihilates creativity's spark. And in '90s alt-rock's transition from youth movement to middle-aged soundtrack, no outfit has telegraphed its disdain for the life of a working rock band the way Radiohead have. The King of Limbs, a breezy exploration of the depths of subliminal glitch-folk, is this band's admission that the labyrinth of post–OK Computer zigs and zags they've led their audience through may never again lead to an arena-rock goldmine. "If you think this is over, you're wrong," Thom Yorke coos in album closer "Separator." This could be his way of telling us that the album is 38 minutes brief because it's the first part of a larger piece; it could also be a statement of purpose regarding the band's gentle and intricate dicking around. Having shed the yoke of both record-label servitude and the typical tropes of conventional rock music, Radiohead are now looking to take a gently jazzy romp through twiddling loops and graceful Afrobeats and present it as a BIG EVENT. It's clear that Yorke and company would just as soon you stopped making such a big deal out of everything they do. Clues abound. On the opening "Bloom," Yorke softly warbles, "Don't blow your mind with why." And then on single "Lotus Flower," he croons, in an affected style that rounds off the sharp-edged stops and affricates of every consonant, his slinky wish to "slip into this groove." As a young and hungry rock-and-roll scamp, he once admonished us to "stop whispering, start shouting." Eighteen years later, he's just hoping no one will pay too much attention to the jittery manchild behind the curtain.

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  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Radiohead, Thom Yorke,  More more >
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