Wednesday 23 March 2011


Beady Eye: Different Gear, Still Speeding 
It's not bad music. It's just terribly derivative and well, kind of dull by now.
Actually, I just made it to the third track, and this is bad music. There's no way I'm going to waste my time on playing the rest of this thing.

Tuesday 1 March 2011


These words will be about Kings. Limbs. Radiohead. More like a ramble than a cohesive review.

This may be the first time a record has made it difficult for me to breathe. At first, my gut reaction was something like this is very promising, very promising this is. And then I held my breath. I found myself wondering why this music stirs physical discomfort in me. Is the bass line cleverly composed to work like a thing from horror soundtracks? Are there subliminal drum fills added to create this effect? What is this? Then I realized, the trick is to keep breathing.

I played this record for the first time while sipping divine drops from a cup of freshly brewed coffee. I hit play just as the last metro of the evening was gliding by. And, this is the perfect soundtrack to that fleeting moment of twilight. When you find yourself being the only one. Nothing else exist within your personal dimension. There is only sound. There is only coffee. There is only this.

It begins with disjointed loops, and the voice of Thom Yorke delivering Open your mouth wide, the universe will sigh. It becomes instantly apparent that the electronica that they decided to give a rest on In Rainbows is back in full force. And well, I don't really mind whether they let themselves be influenced by Aphex Twin or Velvet Underground or whatever as long as the songs are good. And the songs here, they are very good.

There's a focus on loops in three of the four first tracks that I don't think I've heard from Radiohead before. This aspect of the record culminates in Feral which is Radiohead's inevitable take on dubstep. Trailing it is is Lotus Flower. This is the track they've chosen to make a video for (which I guess makes it the single.) It is an excellent example of how the rhythm section really shines on this record, a pretty thing with lots of Thom-falsetto. Then, then Codex hit me. Like spring. Like hepatica nobilis. Like soft warm water rolling over me. I have been absolved of all the useless shit I've done. This is the best track. This is the Videotape, the Where I End and You Begin, the You and Whose Army?, the How to Disappear Completely, the Exit Music, the Street Spirit. This is it. This is what we came for.

I have read some opinion-pieces on this record. A lot of people claim that it's split into an electronic side and a piano-ballad side. I think this happens because there are two very excellent slower songs back-to-back in the latter half of the album (Codex and Give Up the Ghost). I think it's a testament to these two songs being so mind-numbingly impressive that people sideline the other two tracks so they can make half the record be about their excellence. That is my thesis anyway. 'Cause I can't really see how Lotus Flower and Seperator are so vastly different in flow from Little By Little or Morning Mr Magpie.

A criticism I've heard from numerous people and newspapers is that they find disappointment in that Radiohead has done nothing new this time. I have to confess that I was too busy listening to the amazing music to really, properly, notice. But it's true that all the tracks are treading sonic territory that we've heard from Radiohead before. I just think it doesn't matter so much because the songs, man, the songs are there.

And then, to counter-point this often-repeated statement: This could have been placed straight after Amnesiac in their discography and it'd make sense in that space. What I'm saying is, I'm not sure if they've ever really done anything to surprise anyone since they released Kid A. I mean don't get me wrong. They've released very good music since then, but have anyone properly gasped at a Radiohead album after that? Did anyone think that man this is so different, it is a different band, why is the name still the same?! - No, I don't think so.

There was a moment that lasted a few days in total. A moment where I found myself in doubt. I was walking through the cityscapes of Dublin with this record in my ears and everything seemed dreary. We had lost and we had not realized before it was too late. The beggars were trying to shout louder than my earphones. Trying to get through the filter. Drag me into the dystopia. I had just been having a conversation with a friend about this record, and he was less than enthusiastic. I could see where he was coming from now. The record was like a soundtrack to disappointment and broken dreams. This was not a good thing.

But then, a few evenings later. I'm listening to The King of Limbs again. And it is. So. Fucking. Good. I think I am just way too impressionable. By environment. By friends. By everything. Yeah, they've revolutionized nothing. What they have done is taken the time to craft eight fantastic new songs. And for that, goddamnit, we should be grateful. Codex, an instant classic. Give up the Ghost, such a lovely piece of music. I mean hell, Little by Little is starting to really grow on me and if there was a low point initially, that was it.

So yeah, it is early, and only time can tell where on the scale this record ends up. But:
This. This fucking record. This fucking record is amazing.

Anecdotal studies have shown that the music improves with coffee, do what you will with this knowledge.