Saturday, February 19, 2011
First Impressions: The King of Limbs
A lot has already been written about the new album from Radiohead, The King of Limbs.
The band’s eighth studio album has been released digitally a day earlier than planned and attention has already been turned to the first music video for the song Lotus Flower, which features lead singer Thom Yorke dancing as if he’s been possessed by the ghosts of Charlie Chaplain and Michael Jackson.
The King of Limbs, like other works by Radiohead, follows a new musical direction to the band’s last work, In Rainbows, resulting in a complex and haunting feel to the album – with the track Codex being a very poigniant example of this.
For many fans it will be an alienating experience as Radiohead once again askews the mainstream for an original sound. However, many will also celebrate the band’s shunning of the norms and will congratulate them on this brave new, weird-sounding direction.
Personally, after listening to the album for the first time, I’d say it is a challenging work to listen to. In comparison to In Rainbows – which now sounds comparatively conservative – it is an even greater step into the alternative echelons of music. Its very hard to attack the band for that, as that was has been expected from them for some time and over all the King of Limbs is a satisfying experience.
My only feeling is that it will end up making good background music for dinner parties, which is really at odds with the ethos of the band’s music.
Still, The King of Limbs at the very least shows what good can come from music if allowed creative freedom, rather than being lumped with a generic sounding, packaged theme as demanded by the money men.