Brimming full of glitchy electronica, dynamic guitars, catharsis, an aural sweet and sour – ‘Hail To The Thief’ is both an extension of the musical direction they have been pursuing and a nod to their previous albums. In making it Radiohead seem to have honed their skills at turning songs upside down and inside out with fourteen rich and complex, multilayered songs. Songs that manage to pull off an entirely unique complexity while not becoming too busy or a mess of chaos and noise. Radiohead have returned with style and panache.
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Beginning with the no wave introduction of ‘2 + 2 = 5′ that blossoms into the classic Radiohead combination of rumbling bass and swooping vocals, ‘Hail To The Thief’ is full of surprises. There are tracks like the rich, languid and pared right back ‘I Will’, ‘A Punchup At A Wedding’ and ‘Scatterbrain’ which are more akin to ‘The Bends’ than ‘Kid A’. While the dark electronica and weirdly entwined beats of ‘Myxomatosis’ or the sharp artificial sounds of ‘Backdrift’ and ‘The Gloaming’ are hypnotically engaging. ‘We Suck Young Blood’ is especially fine and has a particularly claustrophobic feel from the empty sounding handclaps and pronounced echoes. The most striking of all for me is ‘Sit Down, Stand Up’ which progresses towards a frantic and desperate close from its gentle origins.
The first single from the album, teeming with vibrant guitars and almost tribal drums, is ‘There There.’ – out soon.
Label : Parlophone
Release Date : 9 June 2003
Website : www.radiohead.com