Monday, 9 May 2016

A Moon-Shaped Pool.

Radiohead, those purveyors of sticking it to the man stadium paranoia,are back! And this time they brought some tunes! Well, kind of. Opener Burn the Witch is typical 21st century Radiohead fare - corporate menace in search of a tune, Thom crying out "This is a round up" in a manner similar to Kenneth Williams proclaiming "Infamy! They've all got it in for me." only with less convincing paranoia.

Daydreaming offers more of the same, except that with a melody half inched from Cats the Musical "Memories" it's hard to take seriously.  Even the sample at the end, which I presume is of the cop being reversed over in Happy Valley, seems unnecessary. This venture into what might be called Aphex Lloyd Webber characterises the album, a polite abrasiveness seeps through everything and it's both unsettling and unconvincing.
Like a lot of people, my introduction to this album came courtesy of BBC 6Music broadcasting it in it's entirety minutes after it's release. One track seemed like Radiohead had ventured into self parody - some posh bloke talking about politicians and terrorism over vague electro mumbles. It turned out to be the 730 news. (WINKS TO CAMERA).
Here and there, A Moon Shaped Pool hints at the influence of their rejected Bond theme in it's creation - Identikit especially, with its Duane Eddy riff and Spectoresque drums.
Tracks like Decks Dark and Desert Island Disk don't really do anything, except poke their head round the door and mumble Hi. Ful Stop is better, employing the same muscular skronk jazz of Kid A's The National Anthem, Present Tense introduces tropical Radiohead, far better and lovelier than that sounds, though admittedly more Man from Uncle than Girl from Ipanema.

Highlight though is Glass Eyes, part panic attack, part lullaby and all tune. Unsettling without being unlistenable, and proof that brevity is beautiful, it's something Radiohead might have considered for the rest of this infuriatingly inconsistent work.

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