Have i got here first? The new RADIOHEAD album 'King Of Limbs' is startling that's for sure. But at this point I can't decide if it's startling in a good or bad way. Beginning with the distinctly avant-garde 'Bloom' and its weird percussion that sounds a bit like a broken train running across ruined tracks, the first track certainly doesn't ease you into the experimental sound of this album gently. Right from the start you can tell this is not going to be a return to the straight forward indie rock of old. 'Lotus Flower' is probably as accessible as this record gets, with an infectious bassline, some dusty beats and claps, along with Thom's hypnotic vocals and what is possibly the only chorus on this album. 'Morning Mr Magpie' finally gets a release, and a complete makeover, with awkward jittery beats rendering it almost unrecognizable from the acosutic track they have played live in recent years. 'Little By Little' is a bit more reminiscent of the last album 'In Rainbows', and the sound a marriage of the 'old' Radiohead (guitars and pretty melodies) and the 'weird' Radiohead (synths, beats, electronics, robot vocals) of the last decade or so, while 'Feral' is a glitchy, bizarre almost-instrumental that almost dips into techno territory.
'Codex' however is classic Radiohead, pleasing with a deep, emotive piano sound coupled with a slow pulse beat and that's before we get to 'Give Up The Ghost', where the acoustic guitars finally come out along with plenty of sweeping effects and odd synth noises. Very pretty. The album is closed with 'Seperator', which again sacrifices the traditional rock sound for very organised sampled drum loops and minimal guitar, but Thom's singing gives it a more human quality. From my first listen this sounds inventive and interesting, but initially very difficult. It's going to take quite a few plays that's for sure.
Another daring leap forward? This time I'm not too sure. But it's certain that Radiohead are still doing their own thing. A difficult, awkward and uncompromising thing that I can only give first impressions of at this early stage rather than a definitive "review".
More thoughts on this album soon, I might update this review throughout the next few days to include my thoughts on the record after a few more plays, because it's definitely not something you can judge from a couple of listens. 8/10