Post by Maester Flagons on May 19, 2016 12:56:25 GMT
So I finally pulled out KID A for a listen, late last week. Had to find a CD player, because I lost most of my digital music library when my personal computer died last year. (Nah, I've got it backed up somewhere... just haven't replaced the computer, so I don't have anywhere to put it all yet.) Anyway... the only CD player left is in my wife's car. So there I go - blasting KID A on my way to the grocery store... to the pharmacy... to pick up one of the kids. Kinda jarring, juxtaposing my young adult rock immersion against these mundane, settled parental errands. (C'est la vie!)
I'd forgotten how dark Optimistic is. In my head, National Anthem and Idioteque were the tracks that stood out most. (I like it!) On the new album, the song Identikit reminds me of Idioteque - not in style, so much as in the way it twists a danceable tune into something paranoid and creepy. As background music, if you're not paying attention, you find yourself grooving along and enjoying it; stop to listen more closely, and you briefly wonder if you were wrong to be tapping your foot.
After a week or so listening to A Moon Shaped Pool, my impression is that Radiohead took this bunch of beautiful melodies/songs (many of which includes gorgeous piano, guitar, choral and string arrangements) and intentionally infused each one with an instrumental element designed to induce a subtle low-level background anxiety in the listener. That sounds horrible, and if you don't know Radiohead then reading that would probably make up your mind not to pick up this album. But the key phrase there is "low-level"... because in many of these songs the paranoid instrumental shift is subtle, and only finally noticeable right at the end. Like in Daydreaming... when the receding sound reveals the a very low, pitch-shifted, unintelligible vocal muttering that you suddenly think must have been there in the song all along. Or in Identikit, where the electric guitar solo toward the end suddenly seems too shrill and metallic... only you can't tell exactly when that happened, and it's subtle. It's not amusical, or out of place; it's just... slightly off, somehow. And intentionally so. Or in Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar..., that sound towards the end that's either static, or bubbling, boiling water - or maybe both.
Maybe the one case that seems a bit different to me is the fifth track - Ful Stop - where the paranoid tell is right up front in the percussion: a spare, insistent rhythm that sounds immediately like a heartbeat, making you feel like your head is pounding and you might need some water. It's not until halfway through the track that we get an actual guitar, and then its melody never quite pans out - it's just a suggestion, really - before that low-level head-throbbing sound swells back again.
Best new music I've heard in a while. Lol.
Awesome! Good old cds. Thanks for the 'review' of the new album. You've made me want to hear it for myself so I must buy it.