The King of Limbs – Radiohead
March 30, 2011
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This is not an accessible album. While this sort of classification should be avoided in analyzing such a subjective media, it was difficult to ignore. That out of the way, it is important to consider the base from which Radiohead have created their eighth studio album The King of Limbs. Having had close to 20 years commercial and critical success, Radiohead had a freedom not many other bands have, they could create something, anything, they wanted. They did. The King of Limbs is a deftly crafted and deliberately manipulated piece of work, put together with great finesse. All this said, the album comes off as very vague and difficult to decipher. Six plays through and the listener will still be noticing nuances not yet understood.
Without the pure ambition of OK Computer nor the experimentation of Kid A, The King Of Limbs sits somewhere in between the highs and lows of Radiohead, while still outstripping any other album, in, for lack of a better word, Radioheadness. The vibrant and varied rhythm section, founded around drummer Phil Selway’s penchant for complicated tempos, matches Greenwood’s guitar and Yorke’s sometimes soaring, sometimes melancholic vocal lead.
The first half of the album has a greater density of sound, while the second half beings to taper off into a gentler more acoustic style. The lead track, presumably so because of its chorus unique to the album, Lotus Flower is a highlight which displays the entirety of the band’s incredible talent for song-writing. The tracks slow and soften subtly to conclude with something of a whimper, leaving at least this listener wanting more. There is so much to be said about this album, at the same time as being difficult to describe or classify.
In conclusion this is an album of significance and should be given decent consideration, if only on the basis of the band’s previous releases. It is a more obscure sounding album than some others, but it is clear no less effort has been made to perfect it. The intricacies are minute and abundant; time must be taken to absorb such a dense piece of work. Radiohead I am sure however, do have more to show us in the future.