Radiohead has ignited the internet again with the release of King of Limbs, their 8th studio album. It's on the web today for downloading a day ahead of schedule. Just this Monday Radiohead surprised many by announcing that they would have a new album out. The buzz started sometime Thursday night when the band released a cryptic text in Japanese that read "Shibuya Hachiko Friday 6:59," the name of one the busiest intersections in Tokyo. The tweet was abruptly removed and the band never materialized in Japan due to security concerns, but they did release a music video featuring a spastic Thom Yorke as well as the full-length album. The first impressions of the album have been decidedly mixed and they're sure to change with some repeat listens. That said, check out the outlandish analogies the album is inspiring. If this nutty rhetoric is any indicator of overarching artistic worth, then Of Limbs is surely king.
It's like 'a cigarette break in the eye of a hurricane' says Neil McCormick at the Telegraph. "Radiohead's 8th album may, in fact, be their most immediately accessible ... it is easy on the ear, with a mellifluous melodiousness and gentle sonic palette that doesn't demand huge leaps of faith. Percussive, groovy, spacious, ethereal and melodic, this is late night Radiohead, a stoned, somnambulistic wander through the urban wastelands." Verbiage supply unexhausted, he adds: "Radiohead somehow finds a space between the sinister and the beautiful, the tense and the meditative."
It's actually 'like being lost in a dense forest'... and being an embryo, writes James Montgomery at MTV. "Limbs is assuredly the most minor thing Radiohead have ever done, a dour, insular, downright atmospheric thing that, from the skittering, jazzy fractals of opening track 'Bloom' to the slowly decaying guitars and pitter-pat drums of closer 'Separator,' works very hard at creating a mood ... one that is part amniotic, part pastoral, yet all washed over in a gauzy, dreamlike haze." Montgomery nevertheless concludes that the "minor album" is still a "major accomplishment," and never clarifies what, precisely, he means by "amniotic."
'The light and shade' that had begun to appear in their music has been 'snuffed out' adds Tim Jonze at the Guardian, saying that Radiohead, thought of as "musical mavericks operating in the mainstream," has "failed to come up with anything that might surprise us ... you can still marvel that one of the world's biggest bands are releasing music totally lacking in commercial concerns ... But whereas their business model is unusual, there's a nagging feeling that The King of Limbs is more like business as usual."
It’s more 'like the onomatopoeia of a Heaney poem' says Ronan at Swear I'm Not Paul. "In Rainbows grabbed me more on first listen, but I feel that this album might have a lot more to discover underneath," he writes but the opening is terrible. "If this song is your first introduction to Radiohead ... then you might be wondering what all the fuss is about."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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