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A new Radiohead album is an event, a holiday for my depression, a time when my melancholy is paid the respect it is owed.

Radiohead's eighth full-length, however, starts off emotionless and weak. "Bloom" is a wave of electronic noise, a five-minute snare-fill behind busy keyboards. Thom Yorke's voice lacks melody and is used more like an instrument, as the instruments sound more like backing vocals and filler. The guitar is absent, and when it does appear, no chords ring out, only single notes are plucked and looped through a delay.

During the second song, "Morning Mr. Magpie," you get the feeling that Radiohead is on holiday. But, "Little by Little" assures you they are not. The upbeat tune is one of the strongest tracks here, Radiohead at their best. Colin Greenwood's walking bass line is the backbone; the crisp snare and Yorke's tuneful whine strengthens it, "Little by little by hook or by crook/ I am such a tease/ And you're such a flirt."

The King of Limbs appears a mere commoner at the outset, but three songs in, it reaches a highness that only Radiohead is capable of. With songs such as "Give Up the Ghost," "Codex," and "Separator," Limbs is one of Radiohead's finest works to date, showing they are as emotive, melodic, and powerful as ever.

  • Album: The King of Limbs (2011)
  • Artist: Radiohead
  • Label: Ticker Tape/XL
  • Songs: (1) Bloom (2) Morning Mr. Magpie (3) Little by Little (4) Feral (5) Lotus Flower (6) Codex (7) Give Up the Ghost (8) Separator
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kmanthie April 6, 2011 @ 5:58 p.m.

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